What’s The Big Deal if Your e-Book is Spying On You?

John Hurt in a film adaptation of George Orwell's 1984

The only book about surveillance you ever need to read… John Hurt in a film adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984. Photograph: Ronald Grant Archive

The Facebook generation isn’t bothered about the data e-readers are collecting – just another victory for market forces

For The Guardian writes:

So some big companies are using technology to improve their services – big deal. Or at least that seems to be the balance of opinion around these parts on the news that while you’re reading your favourite ebook, your favourite ebook is reading you. Of course it’s not strictly speaking news to those of you who follow the Electronic Frontier Foundation, or indeed the Wall Street Journal, but for those of us who don’t spend our lives cogitating on the details of every End User License Agreement we sign up to, it still comes of something of a shock to realise that – sotto voce – your electronic device is keeping up running commentary on your reading habits.

Maybe you’ve already followed dickcheeseman’s advice and sprung your Kindle out of Amazon’s embrace or maybe, as R042 suggests, you’ve cut your e-reader off from its natural habitat and foresworn WiFi, but even if like Commontata you “couldn’t care less” what any business has on you, the default collection of user data is another signal that electronic devices shift reading into something a little more commercial.

Jeff Bezos‘s vision for the Kindle was always that it should let readers concentrate only on the text, that it should “disappear” – a vision which he explained in terms of a reading experience which matched the ability of paper, ink and stitching to dissolve as you read them, leaving only “the author’s world”. But as the device fades into the background, there alongside the text is a bookshop. A bookshop already primed for payment and ready to go. That ability for an electronic device to disappear makes book-buying a seamless part of reading. After all, Bezos says, the “coolest feature is that you can think of a book and have it a minute later”. And we do. According to Market Watch, Kindle users typically spend 56% more a month than regular Amazon customers…(read more)


2 Comments on “What’s The Big Deal if Your e-Book is Spying On You?”

  1. […] Pundit from another Planet The Facebook generation isn’t bothered about the data e-readers are collecting – just […]

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