A new study shows that many major e-readers and e-book platforms track book searches, monitor what readers download, and can share information without a customer agreeing first. Is this the next step in satisfying consumers, or a little too Big Brother?
What does your e-reader know about you?
More than you think, according to a new study by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The EFF, a nonprofit group that advocates for consumer rights and privacy, combed through the privacy policies of a number of e-readers and e-book platforms, including Google Books, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, and Indiebound, and found many devices track book searches, monitor what and how readers read downloaded books, record book purchases, and in some cases, even share information without a customer’s consent.
“In nearly all cases, reading e-books means giving up more privacy than browsing through a physical bookstore or library, or reading a paper book in your own home,” writes the EFF in its 2012 report.
The study found that five of the most popular e-readers, including the Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Sony Reader, as well as Google Books, track searches for books as well as record book purchases. What’s more, six of the nine platforms or devices, including Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony, OverDrive, and IndieBound, can share information outside the company without customer consent.