Friday, May 07, 2010

Amazon the New Big Brother?

With its new Kindle software update, Amazon has started collecting data on what readers highlight in their Kindle e-books--then sharing this information with others. The information given out doesn't specify highlighted sections by individual reader but aggregates the data and displays it to other readers.

Here's what Amazon says about the new feature:
We combine the highlights of all Kindle customers and identify the passages with the most highlights. The resulting Popular Highlights help readers to focus on passages that are meaningful to the greatest number of people. We show only passages where the highlights of at least three distinct customers overlap, and we do not show which customers made those highlights.

Amazon's list of "recently heavily highlighted" books.

The move, as you might expect, is controversial. Many readers don't like Amazon "looking over their shoulders" to see that they're highlighting, even if the data given out isn't reader-specific. Others think it's a cool new feature. What do you think about this?


Mocha with Linda said...

That's kinda spooky.

We are slowly losing our privacy and our individuality.

Amy K. Sorrells said...

Um, wow. I have a problem with books not made out of paper in the first place, and this just sealed the deal (or no deal, as in I shall not buy one of these contraptions).

How rude.

And bizarre.

And just, EW.

Shauna said...

My initial reaction is "meh."

pat said...

If I buy the book then it should be mine along with any highlights I make. I think it is rude to track something I bought. What's next?, I buy a bag of cookies and something tells the company how many I actually ate compared to my family?

I'm with Amy on this one.

Southern-fried Fiction said...

I'm really getting tired of the "Big Brother" atmosphere this nation is immersed in right now. The land of the free? No so much any more. The country has lost it's common sense, and Washington is carrying the leader banner.

lynnmosher said...

Ditto, Ane!!! I think it is highly invasive. I don't have a Kindle but will be getting another reader soon. To me, this would be like someone reading my private journal! No, no, no!

Marti Pieper said...

Wrong, wrong, wrong. My purchase of your product does not give you the right to look over my shoulder or into my living room. Epic fail, Amazon.

Rachel Leigh Smith said...

It's wrong. This is yet another reason why I prefer the Nook.

(and yes, I have seen and held both of them. Still prefer the Nook!)