AfterDawn: Tech news

US Congressman wants answers from Amazon about Kindle Fire privacy questions

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 17 Oct 2011 1:59 User comments (1)

US Congressman wants answers from Amazon about Kindle Fire privacy questions A US legislator is asking Amazon to answer some questions about potential privacy implications related to their Kindle Fire tablet.
Representative Ed Markey sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos asking for detailed information about data the company plans to collect via the Kindle Fire's Silk web browser. Silk will use a new Amazon cloud service to speed up browsing.

In order to make that service to work, Amazon will collect data on user behavior in order to make an educated guess about what content they may request next.

In a New York Times article which sparked Markey's interest, Jenna Wortham pointed to concerns being voiced by some technology experts about the implications of Amazon's data collection. She mentioned comments by Apple's Chris Espinosa, who wrote:

People who cringe at the data-mining implications of the Facebook Timeline ought to be just floored by the magnitude of Amazon's opportunity here. Amazon now has what every storefront lusts for: the knowledge of what other stores your customers are shopping in and what prices they're being offered there. What's more, Amazon is getting this not by expensive, proactive scraping the Web, like Google has to do; they?re getting it passively by offering a simple caching service, and letting Fire users do the hard work of crawling the Web. In essence the Fire user base is Amazon's Mechanical Turk, scraping the Web for free and providing Amazon with the most valuable cache of user behavior in existence.




While Espinosa wasn't implying consumers should be worried about who might access the data Amazon collects through the Silk browser, that's exactly what Representative Markey wants them to address.

In his letter, he asks Bezos:

  1. What information does Amazon plan to collect about users of the Kindle Fire?
  2. How does Amazon intend to use this information? Does Amazon plan to sell, rent or otherwise make available this customer information to outside companies? If yes, to which firms?
  3. How will Amazon convey its privacy policy to the Fire and Silk users? Please provide Amazon's privacy policy covering the Kindle Fire, if available.
  4. 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?

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1 user comment

119.10.2011 00:41
llongtheD
Inactive

If you use the web, your subject to data mining, ever heard of a cookie? Even if Amazon offered an opt out for the service, most people wouldn't even notice. I'm not saying it is right but everyone is doing it. If this crusader really wanted to stifle data mining they would go after facebook, they wrote the book. I smell a competing corporation stuffing cash in his hands, or trips to exotic locales, or "favors."

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 19 Oct 2011 @ 12:48

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