EFF talks Silk browser privacy with Amazon

Oct 19, 2011
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EFF talks Silk browser privacy with Amazon

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has announced that it has talked openly with Amazon about privacy with the new Silk browser that will ship on the Kindle Fire tablet that was announced not long ago. The EFF wanted to find out since the browser on the Fire was new to the market how it was handling privacy. One key element of the browser that is different from most browsers on the market today is that rather than using the HTTP protocol, Silk will use the Amazon cloud servers and the SPDY protocol as well.

The cloud servers and SPDY will be used to route most webpage elements through the cloud servers to speed page downloading. The privacy fears came in that when in cloud mode the user would be trusting Amazon with a lot of information that could be used to track the browsers habits online. Amazon tells the EFF that cloud mode will be the default setting, but it can be easily turned off. Amazon also notes that it will not intercept SSL traffic.

Requests from the browser for SSL traffic will be routed directly to the tablet browser. Amazon also says that even though the SPDY connection is persistent between the device and Amazon servers the only info that is regularly logged is the URL of the resource requested, timestamp, and a token identifying a session. SPDY also means that a user on an open network will not be able to spy on the browsing session of the Silk user. The EFF is still concerned about the storing of URLs that you visit, which could allow for the identification of users through search history with some degree of accuracy. The EFF says that it is generally satisfied with the privacy design of Silk.


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