Dec 01, 2011

How do you feel about using the silk browser in light of how it routes all traffic through Amazon's cloud servers?

I'm not sure how comfortable I am with the idea that all the information about my browsing is going to go through Amazon's cloud servers if you use Silk. It seems that it will open up the likely hood of a permanent, never purged browsing history just sitting there for Amazon to analyze and examine should they ever feel so inclined. I know this is only an issue with Kindle Fire, but never the less I don't really like it. At the moment this is only theoretical, though, unless my wife takes my, "You know, I'd like to get one of those new Kindle Fires for Christmas," as a hint. I don't really plan to use it as much more than an entertainment device/e-reader in any case, but I can't just jettison my paranoia. It's like "they" say, just because you are paranoid, it doesn't mean that they aren't out to get you. And a tinfoil hat still keeps the rain off.

There's a menu where you can stop the Silk browser from going through Amazon's proxy server. So no need to worry about privacy on that front if you don't want them to know where you are browsing.

I decided to take a pass on the Kindle Fire though. I already own an iPad 1 and a Kindle 3. So I'm covered for ebooks and other media.


I'm not too worried about it for a couple of reasons.  First off, the Silk browser is only used on the Kindle Fire, and I see that as primarily a toy/entertainment tablet, so there isn't going to be a huge stream of confidential data going out from it.  I also looked at the response from Amazon to an inquiry from a congressman about whether the Silk Browser would violate user privacy.  Amazon says that it will only aggregate browsing activity across all users and it would not link browser use to any individual Kindle Fire users.  Web content is only cached if the site owner has enabled caching and only content that has been specifically IDed.  


The upside to Amazon use of its cloud infrastructure is that it speeds up surfing by pre-fetching and pre-rendering content and website caching.  One other thing that I didn't know until I read Amazon's response was that all traffic between Amazon Web Services and the fire is encrypted, which is actually a nice little security gain for the user.  So while maybe I'm being too trusting or perhaps have just accepted that privacy as we used to know it is a thing of the past, and I'm not very concerned about this issue.


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