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When Your e-Books Read You 105

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-get-bored-and-put-you-down dept.
theodp writes "'Perhaps nothing will have as large an impact on advanced analytics in the coming year as the ongoing explosion of new and powerful data sources,' writes Bill Franks in Taming The Big Data Tidal Wave. And one of the hottest new sources of Big Data, reports the WSJ's Alexandra Alter in Your E-Book Is Reading You, is the estimated 40 million e-readers and 65 million tablets in use in the U.S. that are ripe for the picking by data scientists working for Amazon, Apple, Google, and Barnes & Noble. Some privacy watchdogs argue that e-book users should be protected from having their digital reading habits recorded. 'There's a societal ideal that what you read is nobody else's business,' says the EFF's Cindy Cohn."
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When Your e-Books Read You

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  • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @09:27AM (#40504433)

    Rented videos? Noted. Subscribed to a magazine? Noted. Visited a web site? Noted. Searched for something? Noted.

    Not even scratched the surface. How about "last page read", "text highlighted", "bookmarks taken", "time spent reading"? These are all things that B&N and Amazon know about your reading habits that weren't covered in your "don't worry-be happy" list.

    It's one thing to notice what book the person across the room is reading, but standing behind them and taking notes is a whole level up from there.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @10:40AM (#40504947)
    I think you're missing the point. Often this data is worth more than the device itself. When you're reading books on Herpes management or something, and they use your internet connected TV to start flooding you with herpes treatment commercials... and now have you tied down buying medication at $100/month for the rest of your life... The value of knowing exactly what to put in front of your eyeballs quickly dwarfs the value of whatever device you're using to access the data their mining. We are likely to see, in the near future, free smartphones, ebooks, tablets, whatever... in exchange for mining all of our data. Eventually I doubt it will even be possible to buy a device that doesn't mine your data.

    Generally I'm a libertarian, but this is a rare case where the direction the free market will take us is a bad place indeed. The only real solution here is clearly written legislation. Unfortunately that is very unlikely. Sort of some tragic event happening and making national news (maybe pedophiles using this data for some nefarious purpose) I doubt it will ever come up in congress.

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