Amazon's Kindle Fire might be a hit with consumers, but at least one lawmaker sees cause for concern about the new device. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) recently asked Amazon how it intends to use data collected by the device's Silk browser.
On Tuesday, Markey criticized the retail giant for failing to provide a detailed response. Amazon answered the lawmaker's question by saying only: "Customer information is an important part of our business and an important driver of customer experience and future invention."
Markey found that reply wanting.
"Amazon's responses to my inquiries do not provide enough detail about how the company intends to use customer information, beyond acknowledging that the company uses this valuable information," Markey stated. "Amazon is collecting a massive amount of information about Kindle Fire users, and it has a responsibility to be transparent with its customers."
The Silk browser can transmit information about every site users visit back to Amazon, although this only happens when users run the browser through Amazon's cloud-computer network. The company says in its terms and conditions that it will log URLs for the pages it serves, along with the IP or MAC addresses for up to 30 days. Amazon says it won't link browsing activity to individual users.
People can run Silk “off-cloud,” in which case it won't transmit information about sites visited. But sites will take longer to load.
Markey and Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) co-chair a House privacy caucus. Barton raised concerns about Amazon's new browser at a recent panel hearing.
The Kindle Fire was Amazon's best-selling product on Black Friday, according to Reuters.