Amazon’s new Silk browser has already raised a couple of privacy concerns from security experts and law experts. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said that Amazon answered some questions regarding Kindle’s Fire browser and diminished previous concerns, though not all of them. “We’re happy with a lot of things that we were initially nervous about,” said Dan Auerbach, a staff technologist with EFF. “But there are still some pretty serious remaining privacy concerns.”
Silk is designed as a “split browser” which operates half on the Kindle Fire and half in the cloud. The cloud service will handle the most work composing the Web Pages, reducing the size of page components and pre-fetching content. This will result in a faster user and browsing experience. “Amazon sucks down the target Web site, lays it out, renders it—and then ships it off as a much smaller, condensed package to the Kindle Fire tablet.”, as described by a PCMag’s Extreme Tech.
EFF asked Amazon lots of questions regarding the security of Silk browser and what data will the giant retailer collent. One of the biggest concerns was the way in which Silk will handle the encrypted traffic to sites using SSL certificates and HTTPS protocol. ”They made it very clear that they absolutely aren’t ‘man-in-the-middling,’” said Auerbach. Concerning this matter, Jon Jenkin, Amazon’s director of Silk Development told EFF that ”secure web page requests (SSL) are routed directly from the Kindle Fire to the origin server and do not pass through Amazon’s EC2 servers,” according to a blog Auerbach published earlier today on EEF website. Also, Silk won’t accelerate SSL-encrypted browsing which is a good thing. This way, users don’t have to worry that their data will be seen by Amazon or someone else when they will try to log in into secured websites such as internet banking, email, online shopping and many more.
Amazon also stated that it will log only a limited part of the data received from Silk browser such as destination URL, a timestamp and a token that identifies a session. This data will be held for 30 days, as confirmed by the giant retailer. ”We repeatedly asked if there was any way to associate the logged information with a particular user or Amazon account, and we were told that there was not, and that Amazon is not in a position to track users,” said Auerbach. An added benefit is that all the trafic from the Silk browser to Amazon’s servers is encrypted, giving users an extra protection against the sniffers in public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Even though Amazon answered most of the privacy concerns raised, there are still some left to be answered. More specifically, “, Amazon stores URLs you visit, and these sometimes contain identifying information.”…”Moreover, the data collected by Amazon provides a ripe source of users’ collective browsing habits, which could be an attractive target for law enforcement.”.
Users will be able to disable the cloud acceleration by toggling a setting, assuring EFF that the off switch will be visible on the first page of the browser’s settings page.
In conclusion, EEF said that they” generally satisfied with the privacy design of Silk, and happy that the end user has control over whether to use cloud acceleration.”. Will the Kindle’s Fire browser Silk prove to be a reliable fast browser in which the user can entrust? Let us know your opinion in the comments bellow.