Feeds

Three questions that could put out Amazon's Fire

US politician probes Bezos' Silk Road

Top three mobile application threats

A US congressman is pushing Amazon for details of its cloud-based browsing, Silk, specifically asking what data the company is gathering and how it intends to make use of it.

In an open letter (2-page PDF/263KB, short and to the point) Congressman Edward Markey asks Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos specifically what information is being collected by Silk, how Amazon intends to make use of it, and how the company will go about ensuring users have given explicit permission to have their behaviour monitored in this way.

That last point intimates that such permission should be explicitly requested, while Amazon was probably hoping that the usual user assent to unread Terms & Conditions would suffice.

Amazon's new Kindle Fire is an Android tablet that relies on Amazon's cloud to pre-process web content, a facility Amazon has titled "Silk". Users can opt out of Silk, but by default every click will be routed through Amazon's servers.

This is nothing new: mobile browsers such as Opera, Skyfire and Bolt all do the same thing – grabbing web content and pre-processing to optimise and compress the content prior to delivery – and all three have access to the same kind of information that Amazon Fire users will be sharing.

But none of the above have the reach, or ambition, of Amazon, which has made it clear that user profiling is very much part of its business plan. Our own Andrew Orlowski recently compared Amazon Silk to Phorm, the intercept-and-track service trialled in the UK by BT and still being deployed elsewhere, pointing out how both have the potential to invade users' privacy pretty equally.

When Phorm started collecting data, there was uproar. When Amazon announced the same thing, it seemed as if no one cared.

But at least one US congressman does, it seems, and he is expecting Jeff Bezos to explain himself by 4 November. We'll keep an eye on the matter, and look forward to sharing what comes back. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast
USB-usiness in the front, micro-USB party in the back
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
BOFH: Oh DO tell us what you think. *CLICK*
$%%&amp Oh dear, we've been cut *CLICK* Well hello *CLICK* You're breaking up...
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.