Reading-Chat Monday: Is Someone Watching What You’re Reading?
I read a post yesterday on one of the general-market review blogs I follow which is the first in a series she’s going to be doing on privacy issues and e-reader technology.
It didn’t come as a surprise to me at all that there is technology in e-readers that can track annotations, bookmarks, and highlights. Nor is it a surprise that these companies can track your purchasing habits (do you download mostly free books or are you paying for them? what genres do you download most?) and even your reading habits (what time of day do you read most? how fast do you read? where do you stop? do you skip pages? how many page-turns per hour?).
I guess I’ve always lived with a constant sense that someone is watching my every move. I mean, you can’t have grown up in an evangelical church without having it pounded into your head that God is watching you all the time (Santa Claus, too, apparently). And for years, Amazon has tracked my online purchases to be able to customize a recommendations list for me based on what my purchases say about my interests and needs.
So many people think nothing of letting every website they log into (it seems) access and post to their Facebook account—even though it means that website now has permission to mine all of the personal information they have on their page, and possibly that of everyone they’re connected to. (This is why I don’t add apps or play games or log in anywhere with my FB account.) Yet these same people, if they read the post I linked to above (and the articles/webpages she links to in it), would throw a fit about the invasion of their privacy.
I personally don’t have a problem with this (though I do keep my wifi on my Kindle turned off unless I’m downloading something, just to minimize the tracking they’re able to do, hopefully). I like getting personalized reading recommendations. I like getting e-mails telling me about books I might like based on other books I’ve purchased/read.
But what about you?
Would it bother you to know that your reading habits are being tracked? What would an objective outsider learn about you through tracking your book buying/reading habits?