Amazon knows more than just what books you’ve read and when – it knows which parts of them you liked the most, according to Kari Paul from The Guardian… Support our news coverage by subscribing to our Kindle Nation Daily Digest. Joining is free right now!
When Kari Paul requested her personal information from Amazon this month under California’s new privacy law, she received mostly what she expected: her order history, shipping information and customer support chat logs.
But tucked into the dozens of files were also two Excel spreadsheets, more than 20,000 lines each, with titles, time stamps and actions detailing her reading habits on the Kindle app on her iPhone.
She now knows that on 15 February 2019 starting at 4.37pm, she read The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish – a dark novel by Katya Apekina – for 20 minutes and 30 seconds. On 5 January 2019 starting at 6.27pm, she read the apocalypse-thriller Severance by Ling Ma for 31 minutes and 40 seconds. Starting at 2.12pm on 3 November 2018, she read mermaid romance tale The Pisces by Melissa Broder for 20 minutes and 24 seconds.
And Amazon knows more than just what books she has read and when – it also knows which parts of them she liked the most. On 21 May 2019 she highlighted an excerpt from the third installment of the diary of Anaïs Nin, the data shows, and on 23 August 2018 at 11.25 pm, she highlighted an excerpt from Leslie Jamison’s The Recovering: Intoxication and its Aftermath. On 27 August 2018, she changed the color of a highlighted portion of that same book.
Other habits tracked included the times she copied excerpts from books into her iPhone’s clipboard and how often she looked up definitions of words in Kindle’s attached dictionary.
Kari already understood Amazon tracks our purchases on its site, our activity across the web, our voice commands, our grocery shopping and our locations. But the extensive tracking of her reading habits – Kari’s most beloved and previously offline hobby – was jarring. Who is this information shared with, what is done with it, and how can it affect her privacy – and the future of the reading experience itself?
Read full post on The Guardian