E-Readers May Be Tracking More Than You Know

Friday, December 17, 2010

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The increasing popularity of E-Readers may be putting your privacy at risk, according to an article by NPR.

According to the report, devices such as the Kindle, Kobo, Nook and Reader maybe used to track more than the subject matter preferences of users.

"They could tell you with precision the age, the zip codes, gender and other interests of the people who bought my books. Now you can throw on top of that the fact that a certain number of them quit reading at Page 45," says President of the Authors Guild Scott Turow.

The devices may also be transmitting information such as the speed at which a user reads material, which pages were accessed, and more importantly where the user was at the time they read the material via geo-location capabilities.

The data may be transmitted to the company that the material was downloaded from or to the device's manufacturer, and stored for future retrieval.

The article points out the fact that deciphering exactly what information is collected, for what purposes it is used, and for how long it is being stored is difficult to decipher.

Amazon's dominance in the e-book market may mean it has a treasure trove of information on the habits of its customers, and the data is likely used for marketing analysis.

It is also likely that the data could be subject to a court ordered subpoena and entered as evidence in legal proceedings.

New technologies bring new risks, and the legal system is a few years behind in defining what is and is not considered acceptable practices regarding privacy in the electronic age.

The old Latin idiom is as true today as ever: Caveat Emptor.

Source:  http://www.npr.org/2010/12/15/132058735/is-your-e-book-reading-up-on-you?ft=1&f=1032

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Danny A An easy way to read books without going to bookstore is through e-reader. This is just one proof on technology innovation. The electronic reader sector is growing. Over 22 million e-readers were purchased in just 2009. This is leaving several wondering -- can bookstores endure? In short, bookstores can survive. It will take creative marketing and short-term loans of talent and money.
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