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Amazon's Silk: SaaS Is Closing the Net

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the how-many-gardens-can-fit-in-an-internet dept.

Cloud 95

jfruhlinger writes "Much of the initial reaction to Amazon's Silk browser was interest in how it uses the cloud to speed up browsing. But at what cost? There are privacy concerns, of course, as Amazon will have a record of your browsing; but in a larger philosophical sense, Silk is of a piece with Facebook and Apple's iOS walled garden, an intermediary between you and the Internet."

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95 comments

'Silk is of a piece with Facebook..." (2)

jrbrtsn (103896) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582748)

Except that Silk is supposed to leverage Amazon's EC2 to greatly speed up the browsing experience. Facebook just pilfers your data because they can.

Re:'Silk is of a piece with Facebook..." (4, Insightful)

tech4 (2467692) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582754)

Yep, other browsers like Opera have had this feature for a long time. How does it even close internet? It just speeds up your browsing.

Re:'Silk is of a piece with Facebook..." (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583136)

Redundant?

In the second post?

Really?

Mods. Crack. And obviously a mod that never heard of Opera Mini.

Protip for Opera mini: you can use it as a quickie proxy for internet shenanigans. That's because that's what it is.

--
BMO

Re:'Silk is of a piece with Facebook..." (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 2 years ago | (#37588482)

Yep, other browsers like Opera have had this feature for a long time. How does it even close internet? It just speeds up your browsing.

Firstly, what happens if the page you try and visit doesn't exist? Maybe you get a 404 page showing you some other sites you might like to visit instead (ie - 404 page loaded with amazon paying adverts)

But more dangerously, what happens if the Amazon have some reason to block the site you are visiting. Do amazon let you visit the page? You are going through their cloud, maybe they decide to show you a different page instead that is one of their choosing.

A proxy can do some amazing things, but if you have one you cannot easily opt out of it can also be a threat. Maybe they could decide that Wikileaks is not a site anyone should visit so anyone going to any pages on any of the current list of wikileaks mirrors gets a dummy site not found error page?

One thing they can certainly do is prevent adverts and web tracking code from getting to the actual tracking companies website. They can intercept these calls and display you Amazon paying adverts instead. They then get all the tracking data and they also become the only people able to sell any tracking metrics about kindle users browsing habits.

I used to surf the web many years ago through a DNS proxy that replaced all lookups to sites like doubleclick with a local machines ip address. That local machine had a webserver set up that only served a single image for all requests, regardless of what you requested was called. The result of this was that when you browsed the web you only saw adverts for spam (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spam_(food)) and doubleclick and the like could not track your browsing as nothing ever got to their webservers.

This is a fairly good use but other people doing this could not be so benign and I would hate to see this becoming the norm for all devices like Kindles, Phones, Internet TVs, Games Consoles, etc where the user has to put up with some kind of locked down hardware.

Re:'Silk is of a piece with Facebook..." (1)

sglewis100 (916818) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591954)

Firstly, what happens if the page you try and visit doesn't exist? Maybe you get a 404 page showing you some other sites you might like to visit instead (ie - 404 page loaded with amazon paying adverts)

But more dangerously, what happens if the Amazon have some reason to block the site you are visiting. Do amazon let you visit the page?

If only you could turn the feature off completely and render all content locally. Oh yeah, you can!

Re:'Silk is of a piece with Facebook..." (1)

wwphx (225607) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583400)

What I'm curious about is how gracefully the browser fails if the cloud ever fails. Oh, silly me! The cloud NEVER fails! EC2 has five 9's uptime, doesn't it?

So say we all.

Re:'Silk is of a piece with Facebook..." (1)

stevedog (1867864) | more than 2 years ago | (#37584548)

Why couldn't they just bake in the standard Android browser technology as an invisible fallback?

Re:'Silk is of a piece with Facebook..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37584718)

Why couldn't they just bake in the standard Android browser technology as an invisible fallback?

they did

Re:'Silk is of a piece with Facebook..." (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 2 years ago | (#37588414)

The "cloud" portion of Silk is supposedly optional and can be shut off by the user. I'd imagine this is true mostly so people can still browse when a portion of their Silk tech goes apeshit (which it will at some point). They wouldn't want to stop people from shopping, now would they?

Re:'Silk is of a piece with Facebook..." (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 2 years ago | (#37586806)

What I'm curious about is how gracefully the browser fails if the cloud ever fails. Oh, silly me! The cloud NEVER fails! EC2 has five 9's uptime, doesn't it?

It falls back to just being a normal mobile browser, doing the heavy lifting itself. You might see a slowdown in page rendering, but that should be it. From what I understand you can turn Silk off if you want to.

How do they handle SSL? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37582750)

I wonder how this automatic man in the middle handles SSL connections? Does it pass that traffic though? Does it open a new connection and handle the SSL handshake in the cloud?
Sniffing people's bank accounts is a great service, would bring 1 click buy to a new level.

Re:How do they handle SSL? (4, Funny)

JordanH (75307) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582842)

I wonder how this automatic man in the middle handles SSL connections? Does it pass that traffic though? Does it open a new connection and handle the SSL handshake in the cloud?
Sniffing people's bank accounts is a great service, would bring 1 click buy to a new level.

0 click buy!

Re:How do they handle SSL? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582912)

I wonder how this automatic man in the middle handles SSL connections? Does it pass that traffic though? Does it open a new connection and handle the SSL handshake in the cloud? Sniffing people's bank accounts is a great service, would bring 1 click buy to a new level.

0 click buy!

That's the worry. Zero click buy. delivery to an address in Nigeria.

Re:How do they handle SSL? (1)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583886)

Amazon doesn't ship to Nigeria.

Re:How do they handle SSL? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37584002)

Amazon doesn't ship to Nigeria.

OK, Trenton, New Jersey then. Happy?

Re:How do they handle SSL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37584094)

Same difference. =P

Re:How do they handle SSL? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37587500)

Same difference. =P

I've heard that the people are more friendly in Nigeria.

Re:How do they handle SSL? (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#37719522)

Was the person who told you that a prince? I know that guy too. We maintain a regular correspondence; he has consistent banking problems, poor fellow.

It is SAD.... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37582764)

Ok I have not actually read the article, but the intro make me think that we are entering a updated phase of AOL. When the net was new most people had their internet experience filtered through AOL. Now are we returning to a time where people want their experience filtered through amazon, or facebook?

Re:It is SAD.... (2)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582852)

We are panicking because Amazon has the potential to do nasty thing, not that they are doing it. Why do we buy an ISP and not worry all the time that your ISP will monitor and record all your traffic. Or the guys who own the wires they have been in trouble for spying on us in the past...

Unlike AOL or Facebook Amazon isn't filtering anything. Unlike AOL where you had access to AOL approved content then you had that scary rest of the web to deal with.

Re:It is SAD.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37582862)

Why do we buy an ISP and not worry all the time that your ISP will monitor and record all your traffic.

Because we're paying them money.

 

Re:It is SAD.... (2)

big-magic (695949) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582996)

I agree. Either you are the customer, or you are the product.

If you aren't giving them any money, it's obviously which is true.

Re:It is SAD.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37583590)

Or in this day and age, you're still being sold even if you're paying. When's the last time (using ISP's DNS) you encountered a 404 error page? For me, my home computers all go to my ISP's search page (with advertising, no less) if I didn't reconfigure my DNS.

Re:It is SAD.... (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37584824)

When's the last time (using ISP's DNS) you encountered a 404 error page?

You mean an NXDOMAIN. DNS servers don't return 404s. And my ISP's DNS still returns NXDOMAINs.

Re:It is SAD.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37590766)

I have Comcast, and despite their evil, they make it really easy to enable / disable standard Page Not Found errors. It's right there on the Preferences page. Same thing for OpenDNS.

Re:It is SAD.... (4, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582946)

Silk does MITM of HTTPS connections. My ISP doesn't.

We will establish a secure connection from the cloud to the site owner on your behalf for page requests of sites using SSL (e.g. https://siteaddress.com./ [siteaddress.com.]

Emphasis mine.

Re:It is SAD.... (1)

purplie (610402) | more than 2 years ago | (#37584678)

You mean, you don't *think* it does. Ask yourself, how many opportunities are there for your ISP to inject some form of evilware onto your system? That said, yeah, it probably doesn't.

Re:It is SAD.... (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37584776)

No, they don't. The certificate I get matches the one I get in other places/ISPs, so it's almost impossible for them to be MITMing me.

Re:It is SAD.... (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 2 years ago | (#37587670)

I was under the impression that Silk had a "conventional" mode too; at the click of a button, you can run it locally, without using the EC2 service.

As long as this remains the case, I can't really get excited about it in an apocalyptic "end of the internet" sort of way. For those of us who care (and for everyone, if Amazon start acting restrictive), it can just be turned off.

AOL better comparison (2)

laudunum (585188) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582782)

The comparison to AOL is probably more apt than the one to Apple. I get that Apple walls its garden when it comes to available apps for the iPhone, but that doesn't limit the ways you can access the internet. (Though I think it bears exploring about the ways those apps limit, for good and for bad, limit access.) Amazon is also repeating Apple's play in this regard. Does that mean Amazon has more walls? Taller ones? Ah, the limits of metaphor.

Re:AOL better comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37582784)

Metaphors are like assholes.

Re:AOL better comparison (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582934)

Metaphors are like assholes.

Both have holes in them and some people stretch them way too far. (Anyone who has been caught out by goatse links will know exactly what this means)

How long before... (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582786)

... Amazon starts selling premium space on its servers to those sites who want to provide fast access to their viewers? Good-bye akamai....

Seriously. Large. Gonads. (1)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582832)

Good-bye akamai....

Sorry I don't have mod points for you.

More generally, Amazon is showing some seriously large gonads in all of this.

They are simultaneously treading on various different territories which were [separately] once the exclusive province of Google, Apple, Facebook, Blackberry, Akamai, and many, many others [anyone remember the Sears & Roebuck catalog?!?].

It will be very, very interesting to see how all of this plays out.

It certainly shows that, if nothing else, they aren't satisified with standing still.

Steve Ballmer, are you paying attention?!?



PS: In honor of the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, it should be noted that Akamai lost at least one top executive [cnn.com] on American Airlines Flight 11.

[I don't know whether he was flying alone, or whether he had any Akamai assistants with him.]

Re:Seriously. Large. Gonads. (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37584304)

Good-bye akamai....

I think this is a good thing.

If we're going to have services walling us in and massaging our internet experience, at least let's have a lot of companies doing it, not just one or two.

My fear is that there will be more and more of the "strategic partnerships" which is corporate-speak for "more efficient ways to screw consumers". Those strategic partnerships have very seldom meant more freedom, more competition. They usually just mean instead of three choices, you now have two.

Re:How long before... (2)

rnswebx (473058) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583006)

Amazon already has a CDN; it's called cloudfront [amazon.com]. Since Amazon is already in the CDN business, I can't see how your question makes any sense. Are you suggesting people will flock away from limelight and akamai just because they want to serve some kindles faster? lol....

faster internet speed (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582790)

this is a catch-all argument for just about any product with a high potential for nefarious purposes or something which is a complete POS. a cluster computer for internet browsing? are you friggin serious?

Re:faster internet speed (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582890)

It is what the customer want...
The problem is lately all the arguments and complains are about the potential for something to happen not that it actually happens.

Complain when they start doing it. Not when there is a potential why is our economy slumming lately? Because everyone is spending their time Poo-Pooing on any new technology or idea that comes out poisoning themselves with the fear of all the evil potential that this could cause, and dismissing the benefits...

Here are some examples?
Hydrofracking: Yes it isn't a clean energy there is a potential environmental impact on a drinking water supply. But not lets worry about compared to impact of even mining for coal or drilling for oil this is much safer.

Nuclear Energy: Yes there is a potential to a lot of disaster, and a troublesome waste product. But lets not worry that it is for the most part carbon free which is the biggest problem we have now. And numerous safety systems in these plants when well maintained keep everyone safe.

Tablet Computers: Yes they don't have a keyboard and a the processing power of a desktop. But they are small light portable and new UI make a useful touch interface for many applications.

I can keep going on... Every new technology has a tradeoff. You need to deal with that and understand, sure 10 points for seeing there is a tradeoff that can happen. And you should make sure that its harm is reduced but not by complaining and bickering about every new technology that has a potential for misuse.

Re:faster internet speed (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 2 years ago | (#37589210)

Complain when they start doing it.

It's too late to complain about censorship once it's implemented, because your complaint gets censored.

Not when there is a potential why is our economy slumming lately?

Removing regulations from the commercial sector caused a huge bubble to form, and once it burst so many people went bankrupt it dragged the economy into a tailspin. At the same time, long-running trends of outsourcing and increasing income inequality had weakened the economic security of the middle and working classes to the point where the foundations of economy are crumbling, since nobody dares to spend money - and in fact has nothing to spend unless they take debt. It's gotten to the point where any significant hardship will bankrupt the average person, which of course leads to ever-increasing domino effect. Add to this the reflexive Republican opposition to any corrective measure because if it worked, it would make a Democratic president seem good, the unwillingness of those who are well-off to take any responsibility ("taxes are theft" -meme) and the general practicing of Just World Fallacy ("those who are poor are poor because they deserve to be poor"), and it should be no surprise that things are going to Hell.

TL;DR: Conservatists got into power and fucked everything up.

Because everyone is spending their time Poo-Pooing on any new technology or idea that comes out poisoning themselves with the fear of all the evil potential that this could cause, and dismissing the benefits...

This paranoia didn't just happen, you know. It's a conditioned reflex born of countless observations of evil potential being realized for the general public while any benefits only fall to the few on top.

It's just a proxy server! (1)

Warwick Allison (209388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582800)

Enough with the paranoia.

ObAnalogy: an elevator does not "close" the stairwell. And they often even have cameras in them.

Re:It's just a proxy server! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37582988)

A proxy server only has access to the network traffic. This is a lot already, but browsers _also_ have access to input events (to a larger degree than JavaScript, and more difficult to prevent), high-level session info (it knows what page loads are a part of the prefetch process, while a proxy would have more difficulty with that part), and a lot of other things.

In short, me and some others might be a bit too careful, but you are definitely underestimating technology. I have worked with these things myself, you should try doing that too.

Re:It's just a proxy server! (1)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583228)

Uh, no ..not at all .. they even get to break SSL .. a proxy server doesn't get to look at https traffic.

"I know it can be avoided, but [PANIC PANIC]" (4, Insightful)

arielCo (995647) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582834)

Quoth TFA in its fifth sentence:

Before I get accused panicking, let me emphasize that I am fully aware that Silk will let you opt out of this feature, and use the browser without EC2 participation.

By the end of TFA, The Fine Author forgot it:

Rather than try to contain the Internet, SaaS providers are trying to get between us and the Internet. And they're doing it with slick and catchy ways that slowly ensnare us before we even know what's going on.

Privacy, security, and unlimited access to data are all at risk here. This is why efforts the Open Knowledge Foundation and Open Cloud Initiative are so important. These and other similar organizations represent different ways to keep access to our data limited to just who we want to have it, and no one else.

It comes down to this: will these SaaS vendors be our partners in using the Internet, or our captors?

Oddly, there wasn't so much fuss over Opera's compression service [operamini.com], which is opt-in for Opera Mobile and always on for Opera Mini.

Re:"I know it can be avoided, but [PANIC PANIC]" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37582864)

It comes down to this: will these SaaS vendors be our partners in using the Internet, or our captors?

What a silly question, the answer is "our captors" of course.

Oddly, there wasn't so much fuss over Opera's compression service [operamini.com], which is opt-in for Opera Mobile and always on for Opera Mini.

Opera Mini is not a full fledge browser but it is free, Opera Mobile is a full browser but it costs $.
In the case of Opera Mobile and Opera Desktop you can certainly enable or disable opera's compression service.

Re:"I know it can be avoided, but [PANIC PANIC]" (1)

Pi1grim (1956208) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582882)

Welcome back from criocamera Opera Mobile has been free for ages now.

Re:"I know it can be avoided, but [PANIC PANIC]" (-1)

ya really (1257084) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583084)

Oddly, there wasn't so much fuss over Opera's compression service, which is opt-in for Opera Mobile and always on for Opera Mini.

The keyemphasis is opt-in. Amazon's Silk browser you are forced in whether you want to be or not and cannot opt-out.

Re:"I know it can be avoided, but [PANIC PANIC]" (3, Informative)

arielCo (995647) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583122)

Holy selective reading, Batman!

Quoth TFA in its fifth sentence:

Before I get accused panicking, let me emphasize that I am fully aware that Silk will let you opt out of this feature, and use the browser without EC2 participation.

Re:"I know it can be avoided, but [PANIC PANIC]" (2)

Graftweed (742763) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582984)

Oddly, there wasn't so much fuss over Opera's compression service, which is opt-in for Opera Mobile and always on for Opera Mini.

The issue here is one of scale and reach. Opera didn't have as many users under their umbrella as Amazon does, nor did it have a massive database on their purchasing habits, just waiting to be cross referenced with their newly acquired browsing history.

Re:"I know it can be avoided, but [PANIC PANIC]" (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583142)

So turn it off.

Before I get accused panicking, let me emphasize that I am fully aware that Silk will let you opt out of this feature, and use the browser without EC2 participation.

Did you really expect the service to be 100% free, nothing in it for them ? More like tit-for-tat. That said, I still don't know how Opera benefits with their very similar service (good will and publicity?).

Re:"I know it can be avoided, but [PANIC PANIC]" (1)

hkmwbz (531650) | more than 2 years ago | (#37584764)

That said, I still don't know how Opera benefits with their very similar service (good will and publicity?).

Various services tied to the browser, such as the Google search which Google pays for. Simple, really.

scale only matters when it's slimy? (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583248)

I can see the equatable defense.

Jeez your honor, it's not like I'm a school teacher.
I only had access to my sisters kid.

yeah, that should make it ok.

Re:"I know it can be avoided, but [PANIC PANIC]" (1)

hkmwbz (531650) | more than 2 years ago | (#37584932)

Opera didn't have as many users under their umbrella as Amazon does

I don't know... Opera has more than 200 million active users. How many does Amazon have?

Re:"I know it can be avoided, but [PANIC PANIC]" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37583164)

Embrace.

Extend.

Homeland Security xxxxx MiniLove

Re:"I know it can be avoided, but [PANIC PANIC]" (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 2 years ago | (#37584118)

Oddly, there wasn't so much fuss over Opera's compression service, which is opt-in for Opera Mobile and always on for Opera Mini.

Probably because the three people who use Opera Mobile and the two that use Opera Mini are an insufficient crowd to create a fuss.

Obviously, I exaggerate; but go ask a bunch of random net users how many have heard of Opera and how many have heard of Amazo. Opera is not a significant player.

Re:"I know it can be avoided, but [PANIC PANIC]" (1)

hkmwbz (531650) | more than 2 years ago | (#37584752)

Probably because the three people who use Opera Mobile and the two that use Opera Mini are an insufficient crowd to create a fuss.

I'm not sure what you are looking at, but Opera is the #1 mobile browser globally.

Obviously, I exaggerate; but go ask a bunch of random net users how many have heard of Opera and how many have heard of Amazo. Opera is not a significant player.

Without a representative sample, your questions to people are useless. Opera is a significant player indeed in the mobile market. Not only is it #1 in terms of users, but it powers mobile services for most major mobile operators on the planet.

Re:"I know it can be avoided, but [PANIC PANIC]" (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 2 years ago | (#37584942)

Many "feature phones" come with Opera Mini bundled, especially in networks with crappy GPRS/EDGE service. It lightens the load a lot and creates a better impression.

OTOH, I'd be truly puzzled if there weren't enough Opera Mini users among the technically savvy people (I've been using it for the last 6.5 years) to make a fuss, and it's well known how vocal we can be ;)

TV as a proxy for Newspapers & Books? (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582844)

The same sort of scenario might be imagined for a lot of "delivery systems".

A lot of these systems where the "paper is free" are trying to suck in users so they earn advertising dollars. Physical books and libraries are normally an exception, but even author's sites and libraries seem to have at least one ad on them.

It seems to be the price of progress that people are exposed to seductive forms of content with the intention of separating them from their cash. Sort of like the old yearly "Carnival" that arrived in town once a year. But it was obvious that the Carnival was out to get as much of our money as possible.

Re:TV as a proxy for Newspapers & Books? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37583928)

The yearly carnival only arrived once a year? Astounding!

Please (3, Insightful)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582848)

Call them what they are, attempts to completely control your access to content such as "they" had back when it was just TV, and the music/film/media companies controlled every aspect of the industry with an iron fist, that is what "they" want again, complete control.
The Internet took that away from them, so with tireless lobbying, copyright laws, and campaigns of terror (suing children and single mothers) they have sought this control again, and they are beginning to see how to turn the Internet into a Television set so people go back to drooling.

Re:Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37582896)

Call them what they are, attempts to completely control your access to content such as "they" had back when it was just TV, and the music/film/media companies controlled every aspect of the industry with an iron fist, that is what "they" want again, complete control.
The Internet took that away from them, so with tireless lobbying, copyright laws, and campaigns of terror (suing children and single mothers) they have sought this control again, and they are beginning to see how to turn the Internet into a Television set so people go back to drooling.

They can't do that on desktop pc's or portable pc's.
Maybe thats why we are continuosly hearing about the death of the pc and the dawn of the post pc era.
Who spreads these rumors again ? Yep, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Google. All the companies that WANT to control the dfistribution channel to the end user.

Re:Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37587404)

Save your breath. Most of the folks here have their hand shoved knuckle-deep up the corporate feudal/vassal system, and they like the way it feels as their hand is sliding in up to the wrist. They haven't figured out that the wet sucking sound means they are trapped in a situation where they may "contract" something they don't want.

The old timers here have watched, and known for some time, that the noose would be tightened. The younger the generation, the more likely they will give up their freedom and privacy for a bit of comfort. Under 27 thinks it's the "easy way", and I have yet to meet anyone under 18 that even understands the bullshit that is happening to them. They're pretty much Eloi being fattened up [steve-parker.org] and readied for a feast in a few years from now.

If you have offspring, teach them about the rights that they have now, and the rights that they should have but are slowly being taken from them. Pass it on to them, so at least they may be free and safe of this crap. After all, you can't save the passengers on the Titanic that are convinced that the ship won't sink, so why bother educating the friggin' Eloi aboit the peril they are in?

Does this mean (2)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582898)

that Amazon can see what I'm shopping for online and at what locations and adjust their pricing accordingly? For example, they can make me the highest possible counter-offer based on what other shops I've checked out, that is still equal or lower to the prices I'm already aware of. Totally sounds feasible to me, and totally anti-competitive as well...

Re:Does this mean (3, Interesting)

Warwick Allison (209388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582942)

Yes, they could. Similarly, a shopkeeper could look at you're clothes and tell you "that'll be an extra $5, Mr Fancy Pants". Do you think that would be smart business practice? Maybe somewhere in a backstreet in Hong Kong. Smart businesses learn to respect their customers if they ever hope to have them back. Repeat customers are the lifeblood of small-transaction online vendors. TFA prefers to invent malice to attract one-off readers, since every idiot visitor is an Ad impression.

Re:Does this mean (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583100)

Smart businesses learn to respect their customers if they ever hope to have them back

ROFL. Smart businesses rape their customers and get away with it.

Re:Does this mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37590726)

I think respect for customers evaporated some time in the 1970's. Until then, those who didn't respect and serve their customers paid a price. Then businesses figured out that if nobody did, nobody would pay a price; since all businesses treat people like dirt, who you gonna go to?

Re:Does this mean (1)

knarf (34928) | more than 2 years ago | (#37585452)

Variable, customer-specific pricing has been around for quite a while. Amazon has been doing it for a long, long time [wired.com] given that the linked article is from 2000...

Re:Does this mean (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37587314)

Yes, they could. Similarly, a shopkeeper could look at you're clothes and tell you "that'll be an extra $5, Mr Fancy Pants". Do you think that would be smart business practice? Maybe somewhere in a backstreet in Hong Kong.

Actually, segmenting your market by ability to pay is, assuming you can find a way to do it that works tolerably well, a pretty effective way of maximizing income, and is used by basically every vendor that can find a way to do it, not just in the backstreets of Hong Kong.

Re:Does this mean (0)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583232)

You know how it pre-fetches webpages? .. doing so, it may inadvertently pre-click on "purchase" links.

Let it be known I was the first to point this out.

Re:Does this mean (1)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583950)

Do you really think Amazon would do such a thing? The following lawsuit would be immense, even if anyone there were stupid enough to think it a good idea.

Opera Turbo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37582906)

Looks quite similar to the Opera Turbo feature.

The Sad Reality (0)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | more than 2 years ago | (#37582950)

Many embrace having their lives managed for them. The sense of security it provides is an essential ingredient of many social institutions. Corporations, by means of a carefully manipulated public image, have taken on the mantle of such institutions. The predictable result is a public confused as to what is in their interest and what is at their expense.

This reminds me of AOL. (1)

certain death (947081) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583090)

Back in the day, people on AOL weren't surfing the internet, they were surfing AOL's cached crap. This is just AOL again, what's old is new again. I prefer to interact with the internet in real time and have the content I see under my control as it were.

Re:This reminds me of AOL. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37583912)

... then just turn it off! Or, if extreme paranoia is what you seek, don't buy the Kindle Fire!

How much faster (1)

hey (83763) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583096)

Does a proxy server really speed things up much?
Instead of going to, say, the NY Time website you are going to the proxy. You still have to fetch the content to your device.

Re:How much faster (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 2 years ago | (#37586866)

Does a proxy server really speed things up much? Instead of going to, say, the NY Time website you are going to the proxy. You still have to fetch the content to your device.

It can have an impact, particularly on image or video heavy sites. Also realize that is not just a generalized proxy but a specialized one that is serving a very specific client which it knows inside and out.

Consider a hypothetical case where a device can only display 256 colors and it is retrieving a page that includes graphics with millions of colors. The proxy could convert the graphic in real time to match the capabilities of the device. Now instead of downloading a 3MB file you are downloading a 67KB file. In addition the next person to visit the site won't need the graphic converted. The converted image is in the proxy's cache.

Re:How much faster (1)

hey (83763) | more than 2 years ago | (#37589128)

Good point. But I would think that a modern tablet would be able to display millions of colors. And its dimensions and other capabilities would be about the same as a low-end PC.

Is summary confused??? (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 2 years ago | (#37583114)

How exactly is Safari in iOS an intermediary between you and the internet? It's just a browser. A normal, full-featured(*) browser. Now when we talk about iOS apps, clearly Apple has built a walled garden. But for web access, iOS is wide open.

*Flash support is a bug, not a feature.

Device API yet? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37586718)

But for web access, iOS is wide open.

Does Safari for iOS provide bindings for a JavaScript program on a web page to request the user's permission to use a device's camera and microphone yet?

Re:Device API yet? (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 2 years ago | (#37587212)

Does Safari for iOS provide bindings for a JavaScript program on a web page to request the user's permission to use a device's camera and microphone yet?

I don't know--that has nothing at all to do with web access.

Re:Device API yet? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37588542)

[Lack of camera and mic access in Safari] has nothing at all to do with web access.

Giving native applications access to certain features of a device while denying them entirely to web applications discourages the use of web applications in favor of site-specific apps from the App Store.

toko jati (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37583140)

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Might make Slashdot work (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#37584006)

Now this is something Slashdot readers need. Slashdot, with its incredibly inefficient Javascript that sometimes goes into a compute loop, can now be outsourced to an Amazon server. Not that this benefits anyone; Slashdot's code isn't doing anything useful with all those cycles.

This is a generic problem. Since everybody went "Web 2.0", page bloat has become insane. I've seen pages from major news sources with over 4000 lines of HTML, only 70 of which had anything to do with the story. CSS was supposed to make pages shorter. It didn't. With some "content management" systems, every page has its very own page of CSS. So there's no gain in caching.

Entire companies have gone out of business because of this. "RushmoreDrive.com" (a search engine, part of the Barry Diller media empire) had a 7-second page load time for their home page. They'd loaded it up with so much "social" stuff that it became useless.

Lean pages (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37587856)

I agree. There's whole sections of the web I won't visit anymore as it's just too great a risk to the browser (spinning beach balls, crashes) and too great a loss of time. I don't think Slashdot is on the very bad list here but there is room to lean down.

Don't much care for Google dictating the terms of the web, but at least the penalties on slow pages are pushing web development back onto a diet.

I tried to read the article... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37584216)

...but I was distracted by the real-time sidebar panel listing the usernames of people who were joining the site and had commented on the article.

What were they saying about privacy on the internet again...?

Blah Blah Blah + Google (2)

optimism (2183618) | more than 2 years ago | (#37585078)

There are privacy concerns, of course, as Amazon will have a record of your browsing; but in a larger philosophical sense, Silk is of a piece with Facebook and Apple's iOS walled garden, an intermediary between you and the Internet.

OK, sure, we all know that Facebook's business is to collect & sell your personal info & connections.

iOS? That makes no sense. I suppose you could say that specific apps are "intermediating", but the apps are not the OS. Also, every iOS device has a generic web browser. If you're concerned about intermediation, it should be from your service provider...AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, etc...not from the os.

What really surprises me here...is that Google is rarely mentioned in these lists of "intermediaries". Google has been collecting most folks' search histories for the last decade. And indexing your email if you use Gmail. And recording your news habits if you use Google News. Etc, etc. For example: Recently a friend send me a Gmail about her fight against breast cancer, and I suddenly had lots of cancer-related links in Google news & advertising.

If you use any data services, someone is going to track it. If you care, you can take (often very inconvienent) measures to reduce tracking. But most people don't care enough to bother.

NAT already "broke" it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37585938)

Given that a majority of internet users using a home router and NAT, the Internet was "broken" a while back.

Amazon's entry to the club (2)

batwingTM (202524) | more than 2 years ago | (#37586502)

Having read the article, and the comments I have noticed that people love to drag "insert company name here" into arguments based on what they provide. Android is, above all, a method of getting Google a market position on all mobile devices (yes, Google's motivation isn't about just making your life better). It does this by giving handset manufactures an OS that they can 'freely' use and modify (of course, that is another can of worms) Apple provide, in their words "A user experience" and their approach reflects that. Sure, they limit what can be installed in their environment, but they have not made a move (as yet) to track everything that their users do. but Google, Apple, Microsoft have fallen afoul of lot of users of late, and you know what, of course they have.

We do need to be aware of EVERYTHING that is going on. So much of what is out there for mobile access is convenient, but that always comes at a cost. I had a friend rave last week about how awesome this Kindle Fire was going to be and how it will break out of Apple's walled garden approach...

Yeah, sure it will. Here is a news flash everyone, these companies are out to make profit, that's all. They will do so by providing the user with what they want in the most cost effective way possible, and that will usually involve data collection to better market and understand what the user is doing. It's not malicious, it just is. Amazon are just the latest addition to the club

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