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Will users of Amazon's Silk browser be trading privacy for efficiency?

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Based on what we know so far, the security and privacy implications are frightening. Under the Patriot Act, Amazon is subject to government requests for information about any individual user who is under investigation. The Patriot Act has relatively low due process restrictions. Under the controversial law, enacted after the September 11 attacks, the government can even prevent Amazon from notifying targeted individuals that their data is being turned over to authorities.

Of course, government requests aside, the Silk browser still reveals a treasure trove of user data for Amazon to use as it wishes.

For every user that browses on Silk, Amazon will have access to his or her IP or MAC addresses, as well as a thorough account of each user’s browsing history and profile.

"Amazon Silk also temporarily logs web addresses known as uniform resource locators ('URLs') for the web pages it serves and certain identifiers, such as IP or MAC addresses, to troubleshoot and diagnose Amazon Silk technical issues,” Amazon writes in its Terms & Conditions. “We generally do not keep this information for longer than 30 days.”

“Every page they see, every link they follow, every click they make, every ad they see is going to be intermediated by one of the largest server farms on the planet,” writes one concerned blogger. “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.”

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