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Kindle is on Fire…so is your privacy


Amazon released several new versions of its Kindle yesterday but almost all of the attention is on the $199 Kindle Fire. The attention is merited with only 86 days until Christmas, the Kindle Fire will surely be on everyone’s wish list. The reviews are outstanding with the Fire being a nice alternative to Apple’s $499+ iPad. The Fire has a super-fast browser that enables you to surf the web and presumably buy lots of stuff from Amazon. In fact, the blogs that I’ve read estimate that Amazon is selling the device at a $50 loss per unit so they are clearly betting that you’ll buy more stuff from them using it. That super fast browser does come at a cost that won’t be obvious to most…your entire web-browsing experience is being tracked by Amazon.

Amazon’s Silk Browser gets its speed by using Amazon Web Services, their cloud based solution. That means they track all (and I mean all) of your web activity…every site, every keystroke. You sign your privacy rights away when you accept their terms of service. Now imagine an ex-spouse or ex-business partner asking a judge for a subpoena to see what you’ve been doing on the web…that could get ugly quick.

Likewise, Facebook is taking your lack of privacy to whole new levels with its soon to be released Timeline and tracking activity. Let’s say you visit Huffington Post to read an article. Huffington Post has a ‘like’ button on their site. Even if you don’t click that ‘like’ button, if you read Huffington Post through your stream on Facebook, it automatically tells all your friends what you’ve read. Here’s a recent update by a couple of my friends…(names withheld to protect the innocent):

1. “Conan O’Brien Stares At Nicole Scherzinger’s Cleavage”

2. “Perrey Reeves Shows Off Bikini Body (PHOTO)”

Now just imagine Facebook telling everyone that you’ve read those articles. (Honey: I was just looking at those for the articles) Worse yet, imagine when Netflix goes live on Facebook. Like most of you, I don’t watch particularly dirty movies on Netflix for moral reasons (translation: Jamie won’t let me), but if I do in the future, I’d like a bit of privacy please.

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About venturedebt

venture debt firm providing growth capital for emerging growth companies

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Tim O’Loughlin

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