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Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet criticized for tracking users’ web movements

Within few days of its release, Amazon''s Kindle Fire tablet has been criticised by privacy experts for allowing the movements of web users to be tracked.

gadgets Updated: Oct 01, 2011 18:31 IST

Within few days of its release, Amazon''s Kindle Fire tablet has been criticised by privacy experts for allowing the movements of web users to be tracked.



The new browser, Amazon Silk, allows the firm to track users’ every move online by acting as a middleman between them and the web.



It uses the firm’s network of giant data centres to pre-load web pages before they are delivered to the device.



Which simply means that Amazon’s systems will keep a record of every single web page that Kindle Fire users visit, which could be used to profile their interests for advertising and other commercial purposes.



The records will also be subject to data requests from police and intelligence agencies, as the relatively limited data held by broadband providers.



The browser will even aim to predict your next move in its effort to shave milliseconds off loading times, by learning how users tend to browse individual websites.



“All of your web surfing habits will transit Amazon''s cloud,” the Telegraph quoted Chester Wisniewski, of the British computer security firm Sophos, as saying.



“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,” Wisniewski added.



According to report, users are also subject to Amazon’s broad privacy policy that allows users’ personal information to be exploited for a host of commercial purposes.



“We generally do not keep this information for longer than 30 days,” the Amazon Silk terms and conditions say.



For Kindle Fire owners who do not want Amazon to act as a middleman between the web, it will be possible to turn off Amazon Silk’s pre-loading function.



“If you buy a Fire device, think carefully as to whether your privacy is worth trading for a few milliseconds faster web surfing experience,” Wisniewski said.