Having a wireless connection on an e-reader has been touted as the make-or-break deal for devices coming out.  Amazon’s Kindle, which started it all, has been favored because of the ease of purchasing books from Amazon and downloading to the device.  But, what are you really giving up for that privilege?  A lot of your privacy it seems.  As reported on BoingBoing, the EFF, the Electronic Frontiers Foundation, took a look at e-reader terms of service  for some of the most popular devices, and has made a chart showing who wants what, and what you’re giving up for that digital books online.

Google seems to be the worst of the privacy invaders, requiring users to have a google account so they can be tracked though Web History, and requires “opt-ing in” for sharing personal information with Google.  Amazon the next one down, doesn’t sell you books as much as it licenses them to you.  And they give themselves a lot of room for keeping track of users use of the Kindle, including their interaction with the device and service as well as conent.

Devices such as the Sony e-Reader, which doesn’t connect wirelessly (yet), has no such use agreements, leaving the user free do and put on their device what ever they want without fear of being tracked or spied on.

If privacy is a concern for you, you’ll want to look more closely at this report and read the user agreements carefully before you press that buy button.  Privacy is already under attack for some many other sources.  You shouldn’t have to worry about your books spying on you too.

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1 Comment for this entry

  • That’s one of the big things that will keep me forever out of the e-book reader market. If I pay for a product, it becomes mine and I ought to be able to decide how to use it. That’s why I will die before ever owning an Apple product, I refuse to allow Steve Jobs to tell me what I can and cannot do with my property and if I do something he doesn’t like, he doesn’t get the ability to destroy my property, ie. brick my phone or whatever.

    People are absolute sheep these days, blindly doing whatever anyone else says because they have to have their bright and shiny new toy, no matter how many strings come along with it.

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