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Ebooks: convenience vs privacy (chart)
Many readers turn to ebooks mainly because digital books are extremely convenient to read. The ability to sync the content between user’s all devices is one of the most convincing features.
On the other hand, if you end up reading a book on a tablet in a certain location, and open on your e-reader exactly in the same location, it means that a piece of data was accessed by the digital content provider. To be precise: not only accessed, but also stored.
We’re concerned about privacy on Facebook, but we should also be concerned about privacy when it comes to ebooks.
Social networks are meant to share info. Books are different. Books are meant to be a personal pleasure. It’s not exactly what’s happening when we switch to digital reading.
Since 2009 Electronic Frontier Foundation tracks privacy policies of major ebookstores, including Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Ebooks, Sony, Overdrive, Indiebound, Internet Archive, and Adobe Content Server.
While syncing the latest-read location seems to be justified, some other areas raise the question: why do they need this information? Some data won’t be directly used to improve the user’s experience. For instance, why do ebookstores monitor what you read and how you’re reading?
The chart below answers the following questions:
- Can they keep track of searches for books?
- Can they monitor what you’re reading and how you’re reading it after purchase and link that information back to you? Can they do that when the e-book is obtained elsewhere?
- What compatibility does the device have with books not purchased from an associated eBook store?
- Do they keep a record of book purchases? Can they track book purchases or acquisitions made from other sources?
- With whom can they share the information collected in non-aggregated form?
- Do they have mechanisms for customers to access, correct, or delete the information?
- Can they share information outside the company without the customer’s consent?
Please make sure to visit the EFF blog post for more details. The chart was prepared by Cindy Cohn and Parker Higgins, with the help from Hannah Bloch-Wehba.
Electronic Frontier Foundation: E-reader privacy chart
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About Piotr Kowalczyk
Ad-man who decided to devote his life to books. Founder of Ebook Friendly, ebook enthusiast, and self-published short story author. Prefers reading on his iPhone, but when it comes to history books – Piotr always picks print.
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Ebooks: convenience vs privacy (chart) https://ebookfriendly.com/convenience-privacy-chart/ via @ebookfriendly
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Instead of comments
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
The Hunger Games Prequel
by Suzanne Collins
Part 1: The Mentor
Coriolanus released the fistful of cabbage into the pot of boiling water and swore that one day it would never pass his lips again. But this was not that day. He needed to eat a large bowl of the anemic stuff, and drink every drop of broth, to prevent his stomach from growling during the reaping ceremony. It was one of a long list of precautions he took to mask the fact that his family, despite residing in the penthouse of the Capitol’s most opulent apartment building, was as poor as district scum. That at eighteen, the heir to the once-great house of Snow had nothing to live on but his wits.
His shirt for the reaping was worrying him. He had an acceptable pair of dark dress pants bought on the black market last year, but the shirt was what people looked at. Fortunately, the Academy provided the uniforms it required for daily use. For today’s ceremony, however, students were instructed to be dressed fashionably but with the solemnity the occasion dictated. Tigris had said to trust her, and he did. Only his cousin’s cleverness with a needle had saved him so far. Still, he couldn’t expect miracles.
The shirt they’d dug from the back of the wardrobe—his father’s, from better days—was stained and yellowed with age, half the buttons missing, a cigarette burn on one cuff. Too damaged to sell in even the worst of times, and this was to be his reaping shirt? This morning he had gone to her room at daybreak, only to find both his cousin and the shirt missing. Not a good sign. Had Tigris given up on the old thing and braved the black market in some last-ditch effort to find him proper clothing? And what on earth would she possess worth trading for it? Only one thing—herself—and the house of Snow had not yet fallen that far. Or was it falling now as he salted the cabbage?
326 words read…
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The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.
– B.F. Skinner –
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