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…
To leave a comment