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E-book buyer's privacy guide - reading isn't solo anymore

The digital footprints we leave as we move along in our daily lives are pretty astonishing. As our lives are transformed by the convenience technology provides, the price we pay is the privacy we give up. Today is Data Privacy Day, and we thought it was a good time to highlight one of the areas where companies are watching your behavior closely.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation published an excellent guide, "The E-Book Buyer's Guide to Privacy " which dishes the goods on E book readers' privacy policies by brand. It might give you pause to think of the powerful information Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Google, and Sony could employ with the information they monitor on what books individuals read or search for.

For instance, two of the E-book readers (Google Books and Amazon Kindle) can monitor what you're reading. Google's Book Search Project takes tracking reading habits to a new level, logging what you searched for, the page you read, how long you viewed the page, and where you searched next.

All of the E-book readers, Google Books, Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, and Sony Reader can keep track of book searches and book purchases. Most troubling is the fact that the information collected on your book selections, searches, and purchases could be shared outside the company without your consent (applies to the Kindle, Nook and Reader).

The good news is you do have options. You can laugh in the face of the commercial behemoths and get a free, open source FBReader (for Windows/Linux) which collects no data on your book selections or searches. Another option: you can go to a bookstore and purchase an old fashioned paper book, with cash preferably.

Tags: amazon, Amazon Kindle, AmazonKindle, barnes and noble, BarnesAndNoble, eBook, EbookReader, Electronic Frontier Foundation, ElectronicFrontierFoundation, fbreader, google books, GoogleBooks, kindle, linux, nook, sony reader, SonyReader, windows