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Ebooks and privacy

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Ebooks are booming, and ereaders are hot gift items for the holiday season. This guide on ebooks provides you with some resources to decide what to buy. There's another consideration: privacy. Why do you need to worry about privacy? Because some of the same technological features in these devices that give you quick access to ebooks can also monitor what you are reading. To the page. Seriously.

Who would want to know if you quit reading the latest James Patterson after page 50? Publishers. That is one argument for collecting such data: it will lead to the production of "better" books. In this story, the geo-location capabilities built into many readers are discussed, and their potential for tracking where users are. Make no mistake: your little ereader is a device that gathers lots of information in the process of serving you content.

So, what data is being collected and what's being done with it? That's hard to say. Databases of such user data are valuable resources, so those that control them are pretty tight-lipped about what's inside. The best guide about ebook privacy comes from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, "which summarizes and comments on the privacy-related policies of several e-readers." The guide does not cover every device or system, and the only tablet computer that it covers is the iPad; but it includes the big three e-readers (Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader), and other ebook sources/readers like Google Books,Internet Archive and FBReader.
So, read this guide and inform yourself when choosing how you read ebooks.


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