My Kindle’s Spying on Me

My Kindle’s Spying on Me

Yes, it’s obvious to anyone who uses any eReader that the companies behind them collect information on what each user buys, reads and even browses - how else do they get those ‘you might also like…’ suggestions? All the big companies are in on it: Amazon, Google, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo all collect this information.

What’s more worrying is, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s annual report on eBook platforms, those companies are sharing information on their users with third parties (i.e. outside companies) without users’ permission. And there’s no way to opt out of this on most platforms, with Google being the exception.

Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, Sony, Overdrive and IndieBound, however, all share information without readers’ consent. And while on the Amazon Kindle, for example, ”users may opt-out of use of information only for certain promotional and marketing purposes,” those certain “promotional and marketing purposes” are unclear, and it is not revealed what other purposes information may be used for.

The report highlights the basic lack of clarity in eBook platforms’ privacy policies - they seem almost intentionally vague. A lack of a way to delete or alter personal information is another key point of the report.

It’s probably not surprising, with the value internet consumer data has acquired in the last decade  -- it just seems to me that it ought to be easier to keep some things private. Does this worry me? Well, you know that adage about closing the barn door after the horse has bolted…

Dean Fetzer

News by Dean Fetzer

Dean Fetzer is originally from a small town in eastern Colorado, but has lived in London, England, for the past 21 years. After a career in graphic design, he started a pub review website in the late 90’s; He left that in 2011 to concentrate on his thriller writing, as well as offering publishing services for authors, poets and artists. When not writing - or in the pub - he can be found in the theatre, live music venues and travelling.

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Frank Chapel's picture
Frank Chapel from California is reading Thomas Ligotti's works December 6, 2012 - 6:33pm

Figures. Bad enough these guys abuse license agreements and think they own the internet.

fport's picture
fport from Canada is reading The World Until Yesterday - Jared Diamond December 9, 2012 - 11:58am

They actually do own the internet. There is a huge background shuffle on and many many parties are looking for a piece of the pie, from the intelligence agencies to government to big business. All you have left is your access to things, that is the next thing to be monitored, metered and then restricted. The Wild Wild West of the internet is almost done, it was nice while it lasted.

Those were just words, here are some pictures and words, and always remember, the press has its own agenda: