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Amazon confirms that the Kindle Fire's Silk browser tracks users

Wants to show popular websites
Fri Sep 07 2012, 23:27

ONLINE RETAILER Amazon has confirmed that it tracks webpages visited by Kindle Fire users with its Silk web browser to produce suggestions based on trends.

Amazon's clutch of new Kindle Fire tablets highlighted the firm's intention to get deeper into the hardware business and the Silk web browser is a major application on its tablets. It was already known that the firm's Silk browser uses Amazon Web Services to render webpages but now the firm has confirmed that it keeps counts of webpage views to provide users with website recommendations.

Amazon told The INQUIRER that its "cloud acceleration" service keeps a running count of web pageviews to create a list of popular websites. An Amazon spokesperson said, "The Trending Now feature is determined by aggregated web page views. Customers can turn off the cloud acceleration feature of Silk from the settings menu at any time, and their data will not be aggregated for the Trending Now feature."

The Amazon spokesperson confirmed that the so-called "cloud acceleration" feature is an opt-out service that all Kindle Fire users are automatically enrolled in by default. However the firm said that users can opt-out at any point, after which no tracking data will be kept.

While Kindle Fire users should be aware of the web tracking capabilities in the Silk web browser, given that the Kindle Fire is essentially a way for Amazon to track and sell items and services through its online store, opting out of Silk's online tracking hardly represents a major tightening of privacy. Nevertheless it highlights one way that Amazon aims to make money on its cut-price Kindle tablets. µ


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