This year is being touted as the year of the slate computer. CES was filled with announcements of new computers that are like over-glorified e-book readers. Of course, e-book readers are also being announced right and left. This Christmas was Amazon’s biggest year for the Kindle so far, and claimed that on Christmas day sold more e-books than print. But the worth of e-readers like the Kindle and Sony’s E-Reader are being questioned. Well, more specifically, the E-Ink technology they use is being questioned. E-Ink techonogy is one of the main reasons prices for e-readers remain high. So, is E-Ink worth the price?
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.