‘Not enough detail’ in Amazon privacy statement about Kindle Fire, says Rep. Markey

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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Amazon, whose new Kindle Fire has sparked Christmastime concerns in Congress over whether the company is doing enough to protect consumer privacy, delivered a statement to Congress in early November which one congressman said Tuesday was “not enough.”

In response to a written inquiry sent in October by Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Edward Markey about whether Amazon planned to “sell, rent or otherwise make available” customer information acquired by the Kindle Fire’s “Silk Browser,” Amazon global public policy vice president Paul Misener responded, writing, “Customer information is an important part of our business and an important driver of customer experience and future invention. We do not sell (or rent) the information to others and do not have plans to do so.”

Misener’s letter described how the Silk Browser integrates cloud — or Internet-based — technology in conjunction with the device’s built-in capacity to “overcome some of the limitations wireless mobile devices impose on mobile web browsing.”

As with other browsers, some of users’ Web browsing preferences are cached to make page loading quicker. Kindle Fire users can also turn off the browser’s cloud technology so that only the device itself powers the online experience.

Markey, however, was not satisfied with Misener’s answer, saying in a statement Tuesday that Amazon’s responses “do not provide enough detail about how the company intends to use customer information, beyond acknowledging that the company uses this valuable information.”

“Amazon states ‘Customer information is an important part of our business,’ but it is also important for customers to know how the company uses their personal information,” wrote Markey. “Amazon is collecting a massive amount of information about Kindle Fire users, and it has a responsibility to be transparent with its customers.”

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