Ebook Privacy – Is Big Brother Monitoring What You Read?

Big Brother and Reading

Is your reading being tracked?

If you read ebooks, the answer is definitely, yes.

Amazon Kindle Unlimited pays authors by the number of pages read by ebook readers,

It is proof enough that when you read an ebook, you are monitored.

Ebook privacy

That ebook reading is being tracked by ebook retailers is not startling news.

But what is worrying is the depth of knowledge they gather in their data collection.

An article by Null Sweep highlights the amount of data Amazon collects from Kindle readers.

Country of residence
Attempts to get the IP address on the local network
Device information and version, iPhone vs. Android vs. Kindle and software version
Goodreads account details
Device orientation

Here is a quick look at some of the code Amazon uses for Kindle and Kindle app readers.

kindle data flow

Kindle data

Yes, you probably don’t realize how much information your Kindle or app is sending back to Amazon as you read.


Is your private reading data secure?

It has been proven many times over in recent years by Edward Snowden and Wikileaks, among others, that commercial data is not secure at all.

There is no reason whatsoever to believe that data such as this, is not being harvested by security services.

So if you are reading an ebook version of perhaps, Mein Kampf, any ISIS manifesto, books by Noam Chomsky or John Pilger, or merely a fantasy escape read of porn dressed up as erotica, there will be many who know, including today’s many versions of Big Brother.

Worse still, if you highlight specific phrases or make notes, you may well incriminate yourself further.

Sure, a highlighter and a pencil, along with a paperback, would be a lot safer.

But if you bought the paperback copy online, or with a credit card at your local bookstore, you’re not totally safe.

You have still left a data trail for the spooks to follow.

This is a dramatic change in the security and privacy of reading, as, until the advent of the ebook, no one had the power to spy on what one read.

Sure, Hitler tried to burn the books, but that pales in the face of the power now, to spy on what millions of people are reading.


What can you do to protect your reading privacy?

Firstly, close all your bank accounts, credit cards, and Paypal account.

Then get rid of your cell phone, laptop, and Internet connection, and just to be safe, ditch your iPad and Kindle.

After doing all this, go to your local bookstore; that is, if there is one still surviving in your town or city, and buy your book with cash.

Then go home and read it under your bedcovers by torchlight.

Yes, reading has become as dangerous as making a phone call, so be very, very careful in how you buy books and how you read them.

Remember, the spooks want to know about every word you read!


More reading: How You Can Lose All Your Ebooks Because Of DRM

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent teaching English and writing, as well as testing and taming new technology.

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