Amazon made a pretty big splash yesterday with the unveiling of the Kindle Fire tablet and new versions of the Kindle. What many in the industry consider to be the most interesting news of the bunch, however, was that of Silk.
Silk is Amazon’s new web browser, which is exclusive to the Kindle Fire, at least for now. It’s not just another browser though. It actually has something significantly different to bring to the table, and I will be very surprised if it’s not launched to other devices.
Amazon posted the following video explaining it:
In a nutshell, Silk makes the web browsing experience faster, because it divides the workload between the mobile hardware Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). It’s explained further here.
Chester Wisniewski, a senior security advisor at Sophos put up a blog post talking about privacy concerns with Silk. He writes:
” All of your web surfing habits will transit Amazon’s cloud. If you think that Google AdWords and Facebook are watching you, this service is guaranteed to have a record of *everything* you do on the web.”
“In fact Amazon Silk’s terms and conditions notes that URLs, IP addresses and MAC addresses will be logged and can be retained for 30 days.”
That is in fact in the terms and conditions, but so is the following:
You can also choose to operate Amazon Silk in basic or “off-cloud” mode. Off-cloud mode allows web pages generally to go directly to your computer rather than pass through our servers. As such, it does not take advantage of Amazon’s cloud computing services to speed-up web content delivery.
So, it sounds like the privacy is there if you want it, but if you want to use Silk for the things that set it apart from other browsers, you should be warned of what Wisniewski is talking about.