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    Ars Technica: Congress, wary of Amazon’s Silk browser, demands answers on privacy

    Ars Technica reports that members of Congress are becoming interested in the privacy questions that have arisen over Amazon’s Silk web browser:

    At a privacy hearing yesterday, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) expressed outrage at the way Silk’s “split” design can funnel all user browsing data through Amazon’s backend servers.

    “My staff yesterday told me that one of our leading Internet companies, Amazon, is going to create their own server and their own system and they’re going to force everybody that uses Amazon to go through their server and they’re going to collect all this information on each person who does that without that person’s knowledge. Enough is enough.”

    Today came a similar shot from the other side of the aisle, with Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) dashing off a letter (PDF) to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about the same privacy concerns. […]

    “As the use of mobile devices, especially tablets, becomes ubiquitous, we must ensure that user privacy is protected and proper safeguards are in place so that consumers know if and when their personal information is being used and for what purpose,” [Markey said in a statement.]

    To that end, Markey has some questions for Amazon. As the co-Chair of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, Markey wants to know in the next few weeks:

    • What information does Amazon plan to collect about users of the Kindle Fire?
    • How does Amazon intend to use this information?
    • How will Amazon convey its privacy policy to Fire and Silk users?
    • 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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