Is your e-book reader reading what you read?

As Winston Smith learnt to his cost, Big Brother was monitoring everything he did.

CCTV watches and tracks, face recognition picks you out. GPS pinpoints where you are. Mobile phone networks track where you are, who you are communicating with. Credit and debit cards track where you are, how much you are spending. Store cards track where you are, build a profile of what you buy, where and when.

Facebook apps monitor everything you are doing on facebook, and know who all your friends are.

How many people are aware that their e-book reader is not only monitoring what they read but even gathering fine data such as which passages in a book you may have highlighted, passages that you may pause and reflect upon?

It is one thing to tweet what you are reading, to write a review, even to contact the author with your thoughts on a book, but it is an entirely different matter invasive monitoring of what we read.

Philip Jones editor of The Bookseller (a vested interest if ever there was one), dismisses concerns. Clearly he has no understanding of data mining. Author Joan Brady on the other hand is very concerned at this invasion of privacy, what your e-book reader is reading about you and what the information gathered is being used for.

What are authors doing about this? Are they happy with the privacy of their readers being violated?

Maybe we should all go back to reading real books, books you hold in your hand, and when we buy books do so with cash from a secondhand bookshop.

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