Feeds

Three questions that could put out Amazon's Fire

US politician probes Bezos' Silk Road

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future
Or why the reversal of globalisation ain't gonna 'appen
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
CAGE MATCH: Microsoft, Dell open co-located bit barns in Oz
Whole new species of XaaS spawning in the antipodes
Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre
A less painful way to run Microsoft’s private cloud
AWS pulls desktop-as-a-service from the PC
Support for PCoIP protocol means zero clients can run cloudy desktops
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.