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E-reader privacy policies compared: Big Kindle is watching you

Nilay Patel

It's definitely shaping up to be the year of e-book readers: the Amazon Kindle is flying off (virtual) shelves, and we'd expect the Barnes & Noble Nook to start moving at a decent clip once the kinks get worked out. But any device with an always-on 3G connection to a central server raises some privacy questions, especially when it can broadcast granular, specific data about what you're reading -- data that's subject to a wide spectrum of privacy laws and regulations when it comes to real books and libraries, but much less so in the digital realm. We'd say it's going to take a while for all the privacy implications of e-books to be dealt with by formal policy, but in the meantime the best solution is to be informed -- which is where this handy chart from our friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation comes in. As you'd expect, the more reading you do online, the more you can be tracked -- and Google Books, the Kindle, and the Nook all log a ton of data that can be shared with law enforcement and various other third parties if required. Of course, we doubt the cops are too interested in your Twilight reading habits, but honestly, we'd rather users weren't tracked at all. Check the full chart and more at the read link.

[Thanks, Tom]

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