Amazon’s cloud-backed fondleslab, the Kindle Fire: privacy issues?

In aws, Cloud Computing, Networking, Programming Paradigm on September 29, 2011 at 12:08 am

Amazon just launched its tablet, the Kindle Fire. Aside from the price (its only $199, less than half of an ipad 2) one of the most interesting feature is their browser called Amazon Silk. The browser basically off-loads the heavy lifting of rendering and image optimization to their huge proxy/rendering farm (courtesy of AWS). The result is snappier pages and happier users.

At least thats the idea. Theres no doubt that infrastructure-wise this will work as ISPs have done this at some point to save bandwidth and improve user experience (squid being the most popular open source cache/proxy).

However, it seems like amazons engineers have pushed caching to the next level by rendering CPU-hogging javascripts and optimizing content (image resizing mainly) prior to delivery to the kindle Silk browser. So far so good.

Now for the privacy questions: how can amazon guarantee a) protection and b) anonymity of the session information and most importantly the data (eg username anf passwords) that will be “proxied” by the servers?

How will the browser deal with https traffic? Will that also be optimized too? (ie go through their servers)? I hope not!

That being said im looking forward to the getting my hands on them fondleslabs =)

  1. Just saw Amazon Fire news and the new Silk browser. My concerns and thoughts are exactly the same. There was almost no privacy in last times when browsing. A new step was taken now for even less privacy. Google (via search and via chrome or OS) and Facebook already tracked our life when using their services in desktop/portable devices. Now Amazon will collect for his commercial pleasure and at all time our info. This is a major interference in our privacy. Can we use alternative non-spy browsers on that tablet? And was really really this caching necessary or just a lame reason for other objectives?

    • Well I would be surprised of they say they wont use the proxied content to profile and datamine.. Of course under the guise of “to improve user experience” which would invariably mean showing us (at some touch point somewhere) context driven or targeted ads.

      So in exchange for a cheap tablet and fast browsing experience we pay them with data and the ability to show us more “relevant” stuff to buy from them.. Thats the business model. Heck they should be giving this stuff away!

      Its android-based though im not sure if theyve placed any limitation on what you can install on it. If none, then any android app like a browser should be possible. If they did place somekind of lock then I suppose we can all look forward to the android for Kindle Fire forks.

      • I had the strong feeling that spite of be Android powered all that world is hidden to consumers. For what I read it’s possible to add new selected apps from an Amazon App Store. For sure Amazon is not interested in adding 3rd party browsers that kill his bussiness model of collect data. Sorry Amazon very good price, but my privacy is not sold so cheap. I think too Amazon was smart enough for raise anti-jailbreaking measures to avoid people get cheap tablets. We all cursed all Apple rules an bussiness model was so restrictive but probably Amazon gone beyond that now.

  2. Checking Silk TOS. There is a off-cloud mode… Really off-cloud? 😉 http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=200775270

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