U.S Congressman Demands Amazon Answer Privacy Questions Concerning Kindle Fire
By on October 17th, 2011

Worried about privacy? Well you’re not alone. U.S Congressman Edward Markey has published an open letter to Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, demanding an answer to privacy issues.

With the recent announcement of the Amazon Kindle Fire, an Android tablet powering Amazon’s content store, the Silk browser came to the forefront as a great leap in browsing. While ‘proxy-browsing’ is nothing new, Skyfire and Opera Mini have been doing it for ages, Silk will be the primary way all Kindle Fire users browse the web. This allows for Amazon to collect a HUGE amount of data that can be used for advertising or other means of monetizing personal information. Imagine that, a company making money off your personal online habits.

What is the Congressman after? Answers about what Amazon is collecting, how they are collecting it and what they plan on doing with it. Markey specifically poses the questions and demands an answer within 3 weeks.

  • What information does Amazon plan to collect about users of the Kindle Fire?
  • Does Amazon plan to sell, rent or otherwise make available this customer information to outside companies?
  • How does Amazon plan to disclose its privacy policy to Fire and Silk users
  • If Amazon plans to collect information about its users’ Internet browsing habits, will customers be able to affirmatively opt in to participate in the data sharing program?
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. Please provide the responses to these questions no later than November 4, 2011.

Amazon has built a huge network of infrastructure to leverage “server-side browsing” and make it completely invisible to the user. Browsing data and purchasing information is constantly being sent to Amazon and there is no known way to opt-out.  You could, of course, purchase one of the 30 other Android tablets on the market, that have unfettered access to the Amazon Kindle service.

While the Congressman does have his heart in the right place with these questions, especially considering he is Co-Chairman of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, this seems like a play using a very well known product to raise awareness for his ‘Do Not Track Kids’ legislation which attempts to protect online privacy for children. Won’t somebody think of the children?!

Do you really care if Amazon knows what you’re browsing the internet for? You probably already give that information to numerous other companies like Google or Facebook — what does one more Big Brother matter when you already have 6 looking over your shoulder?

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Author: Simon LR

Simon LR has written and can be contacted at simon@techie-buzz.com.

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