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Big Brother In Every E-Book?

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posted on Jul, 6 2012 @ 05:10 PM
The June 29, 2012 Wall Street Journal contains an article titled "Your E-Book Is Reading You." Here's link:

Did you know, for example, that the total time you spend reading each e-book is transmitted back to the book's publisher, author, and who knows who else? Oh, and they know lots more - which, if any sections of the e-book you re-read, whether you read the book all at one sitting (you name it, they record it).

On the LibraryThing website, I'm asking if anyone there works in a library where e-books are offered on loan, because I bet their clientele has no clue that this data mining (and hence, lack of privacy) is going on. If so, libraries need to have a policy on this fast.

See also the interesting WSJ discussion section that follows the above article. My question for the ATS community is, does this type of e-book reader surveillance happen with all e-books? If some e-books (or e-book readers) afford us more privacy, I'd be very grateful if you could tell us about that.

posted on Jul, 6 2012 @ 08:03 PM
I use Barnes and Noble's Nook and I had no idea that they were gathering information about my reading habits, if in fact they are.

I never leave my wi-fi connection on but when I do turn it on to buy new books and sync I guess they can grab the data during synchronization.

If they are going to spy on me then I think they should not charge for the books.

posted on Jul, 6 2012 @ 08:31 PM
I have a Sony E-Reader (Pocket Edition) with no bells or whistles, no wi-fi connectivity whatsoever.

I don't have any "ebooks", just .pdf's of personal notes and works in progress on stories I'm working on.

I chose this particular Sony Reader because of it's privacy considerations.

If Big Brother wants to take tabs on me, he's going to have to go the Old Fashioned route and send an actual operative up to ask what I'm reading....I kind of like that, actually - human contact is so rare these days.

posted on Jul, 9 2012 @ 09:17 AM
reply to post by Uphill

This week I will stop by a Barnes & Noble store and ask their Nook sales staff all of the reading privacy questions I can think of. Ditto Google e-store where they sell their e-books. I'll post the answers back here.

posted on Jul, 9 2012 @ 04:12 PM
I'm sure the kindle can easily do this.

Even if you turn a page on 1 device, all others are updated to the correct page before you can reach for it And its also this fast for devices on the Kindle Whisper-net.

posted on Jul, 9 2012 @ 07:06 PM
reply to post by Uphill

As of January 1, 2012, anyone buying digital reading materials in California or buying any reading materials via online purchase will have their privacy fully protected. Anyone who claims a need to see any of those purchase details or e-reading records will need to have a warrant issued by a court, according to the California ACLU:

I live in California, so that means I'm protected, but I'm still going to ask the Google and Barnes & Noble e-book vendors those privacy questions, so that everyone else knows what their options are.

Here's a 2010 analysis from the U.S. Electronic Frontier Foundation on E-book Buyer Privacy. It includes Google Books, Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook (partly), Sony Reader, FBReader:
edit on 7/9/2012 by Uphill because: Added a link.

Here's one more EFF link, this one's from December 6, 2010, and has more information across more devices:
edit on 7/9/2012 by Uphill because: Add one more link.

posted on Jul, 10 2012 @ 12:56 PM
reply to post by Uphill

I suggested to Google Books that they clarify a number of unaddressed privacy issues in their Book Privacy FAQ section, so they can show that Google Books is in full compliance with the California 2012 E-book Privacy law. Here's their current book privacy policy:

posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 08:14 AM
reply to post by Uphill

I asked Google Books to expand its reader privacy policy to clarify its position on the following:

1. When a person buys a copy of a Google E-book and downloads it, and wants to underline or highlight certain portions of the text, is any such added emphasis being collected by Google Books?

2. Similarly, what about when the person adds electronic notes to the margins of these E-books? Are those electronic notes being collected by Google Books?

3. Similarly, when a person is reading a copy of a Google E-book on their computer, is Google collecting information on what page they are reading? Is Google collecting information on what pages or section the person goes back and re-reads?

...Those were all the questions I could think of that are not addressed by the current Google Books (which is now a part of the "Google Play" heading of the Google website) user privacy policy. If you have more questions, can you add them to this ATS thread?

On the LibraryThing website (which is used by library professionals and readers, and not just English-speaking), someone commented to me on this subject that they use Kobo wireless, but they download their books from Kobo to their computer and then load them onto the Kobo e-reader. Kobo keeps sending them suggestions about which books might interest them, but keeps suggesting books by James Patterson, which this person has never bought and has no interest in.

Another person on LibraryThing suggested the following when using the Amazon Kindle e-reader:
1. Don't mark any e-book passages.
2. Don't turn on the wireless while you are reading the book. Set the cursor back to the cover page before you turn on the wireless.
3. Alternatively, download your notes to your computer, then erase them from your Kindle books.

So, my question for the ATS community on the above suggestions (for Kobo and Kindle e-reader devices) is, will any of the above privacy-protecting strategies actually work? For instance, perhaps the Kindle e-reader collects user behavior information real-time, regardless of whether the wireless is on or not, regardless of whether the notes are left stored on the e-reader or not? Does anyone know of any Kindle hacking attempts that might shed light on the behavior of the Kindle e-reader software? ...Thanks for reading.

edit on 7/11/2012 by Uphill because: Fixed a typo.

posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 10:57 AM
reply to post by Uphill

Here is a view of what apparently is the new Google platform of offerings for their "Google Play" area, which includes cellphones, tablets, and a player device that subsumes e-readers, gaming devices, music listening devices, etc. Pre-order only at this time. Listing price of $199.99, which is a fair price if it has a decent MTBF (engineering term - "mean time between failures").

When I did computer network support, there was a truism that is apparently still valid: Single-purpose machines have the least downtime.
edit on 7/11/2012 by Uphill because: Added a new link.

edit on 7/11/2012 by Uphill because: (no reason given)


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