Remember the telescreen in Orwell’s 1984? The constant monitor of Big Brother, the telescreen picked up every sound, every movement the citizens made and transmitted it to Big Brother. Nothing within the view of the telescreen was sacred.
Well, according to a disturbing report I heard today on NPR, we have a new telescreen – the e-reader. The same antenna within the e-reader that allows you to download books also transmits data from your reading habits back to the e-book vendor. It not only knows what books you’re reading – it knows how long you spent on each page, what pages you skipped, and if you peeked ahead to the end of the book. It knows what books you downloaded and never read. It knows what books you auditioned and rejected. It knows what time of day you’re reading, and could conceivably, track your location too. Like an electronic Santa, your e-reader sees you when you’re sleeping, knows when you’re awake, knows when you’ve been bad or good – okay, I’m sure you get the idea.
So is this a dangerous invasion of privacy or just clever marketers on steroids collecting data to bring you better literature? Read the full story, then you decide.
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