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Old 06-20-2012, 05:04 AM   #1
hooplehead
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Privacy concerns of Reading Life

Hello everyone! <First post >

I thought I might share a Kobo customer care mail I got after inquiring after privacy issues of Reading Life. My question was:

Quote:
Me: Is any data, what I read, when and how long I read etc. submitted into the net? I don't use facebook or other so called "social" networks and would hate to have private data transmitted to anyone.
I know I can disable Reading Life completely, but as a local, offline statistic I think it could be interesting.
Their answer:
Quote:
Kobo: With Reading Life, you would have the option to put some information, at your request, onto your Facebook. If you are not setup with Facebook on your Kobo Touch, the Reading Life feature is for your personal use only.
So, this would mean, that all Reading Life data should be perfectly save and isn't used in any way by anyone. Comforting thought, unfortunately, I didn't get any answer to my response:

Quote:
Me: Does this mean that even when I synchronize (which includes data like Reading Life statistics, awards, books I read, I guess), this data stays secure in my account at Kobo and isn't analyzed/used by anyone, including Kobo?
Just wanted to share this. I'm not particularly concerned anymore, as I have disabled Reading Life completely. Those statistics aren't as thrilling after all...

Thanks!
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:18 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum. I hope you enjoy your Touch and the people on the Touch forum as much as I do.

You should know that if you use the store or visit the Kobo website Google analytics is part of the backend. Chances are you know this already, but GA tracks behaviour like how you navvigate through the site, what pages you visit on and for how long. I say "you" but the info gathered is combined with everyone else's and no one sees your data on its own. Most websites use GA.

For more info about GA and privacy see: http://www.google.com/intl/en_uk/ana...yoverview.html

There is also an opt-out for GA in browsers. It is in beta.
https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout?hl=en-GB
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:46 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taming View Post
You should know that if you use the store or visit the Kobo website Google analytics is part of the backend. Chances are you know this already, but GA tracks behaviour like how you navvigate through the site, what pages you visit on and for how long. I say "you" but the info gathered is combined with everyone else's and no one sees your data on its own. Most websites use GA.
Pretty much everything you do on the Touch is logged and run through Google Analytics as well, presumably every time you connect it to the 'Net.
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Old 06-20-2012, 12:00 PM   #4
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The reading life stats are saved on Kobo's servers, so if you have to do a reset they won't be lost.
Google analytic's are integrated but the knowledge gained from them is anonymous.
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Old 06-20-2012, 12:02 PM   #5
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Yup. I have no problems with it. My thought in writing the post was that someone who is concerned about privacy should know this, too.

Info about sideloaded books stay on the device. It is never transferred to the Kobo servers. I read both Kobo kepub books and sideloaded content, mostly library books. I have done a whole lot of factory resets--usually as part of the beta process. My numbers are all out of wack. I also have a Vox and read on my phone, and somehow the totals seem to be off for my number of books.

For example, I have read about 150 books since Reading Life launched. My total books read per the Touch is 57. Touch reports that number is 8% of my total books. This is incorrect. My total is more like 250 books, a lot fewer than Kobo seems to think are in my library.

Last edited by taming; 06-20-2012 at 12:18 PM. Reason: more info
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Old 06-20-2012, 05:56 PM   #6
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And really, the info that GA is not really all that important.


I don't know why you would worry about it............That is unless you're reading books about building bombs and what not
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taming View Post
Welcome to the forum. I hope you enjoy your Touch and the people on the Touch forum as much as I do.

You should know that if you use the store or visit the Kobo website Google analytics is part of the backend. Chances are you know this already, but GA tracks behaviour like how you navvigate through the site, what pages you visit on and for how long. I say "you" but the info gathered is combined with everyone else's and no one sees your data on its own. Most websites use GA.

For more info about GA and privacy see: http://www.google.com/intl/en_uk/ana...yoverview.html

There is also an opt-out for GA in browsers. It is in beta.
https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout?hl=en-GB
You can also use Ghostery. Simple, painless addon download in FF, and set it up to block everything.
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
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You can also use Ghostery. Simple, painless addon download in FF, and set it up to block everything.
Only works in your browser. Doesn't stop anything else, such as your reader being naughty through your wi-fi, or anything the desktop app might do. Sickening, though, just how much tracking Ghostery shows is going on. :/
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Old 06-21-2012, 11:56 AM   #9
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Only works in your browser. Doesn't stop anything else, such as your reader being naughty through your wi-fi, or anything the desktop app might do. Sickening, though, just how much tracking Ghostery shows is going on. :/
I can't possible see why this is a problem, what's wrong with GA knowing anonymous statistics about how long people read for and what books are popular. It's not like the info they are taking is really all that important.
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Old 06-21-2012, 03:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Terminator View Post
I can't possible see why this is a problem, what's wrong with GA knowing anonymous statistics about how long people read for and what books are popular. It's not like the info they are taking is really all that important.
And that attitude is why there is such an insane amount of tracking on the Web. Too many people are complacent about it.
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Old 06-21-2012, 06:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JD Gumby View Post
And that attitude is why there is such an insane amount of tracking on the Web. Too many people are complacent about it.
Thanks to this thread & plib I just added Ghostery to my browser. I HATE being tracked unless I specifically want to be. Hah, now having said that I wish the KT (Reading Life) had much better tracking in regards to sideloaded epubs. I do like to know how much I've been reading but all my books are sideloaded. I never use the Kobo Desktop app unless there is an update. Lacks way too many features to be useful other than firmware updates.
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:30 AM   #12
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Thanks for the welcome all the quick answers!
I'm already aware of the tracking that is going on everywhere. Well, probably I'm not aware of all the tracking going on, but at least I try to minimize it where I can. I've also found and applied the teachings of the thread KT's Google Analytics integration, and how to disable it. GA may not reveal my soul to the soulless, but it doesn't hurt to be frugal with any data. Also, I like to tinker with hard- and software.

Didn't know that sideloaded books are excluded from Reading Life ststistics. At least my current title was shown...

Anyway, doesn't matter. "Reading Life" could be a nice gimmick for some, I don't use it any more. I want to read books on the Touch and it does a fairly good job with that.
I think I'll head over to the "Firmware" thread to file a bugreport/feature request for the things I noticed. Too bad Kobo doesn't provide an official bugtracker...

Thanks everyone!
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Old 06-22-2012, 10:21 AM   #13
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The stats for reading life are not excluded on your device, they just don't transfer through the Kobo update servers. That is not just laziness, btw, some of it has to do with Canadian privacy law/policy. Libraries here don't even store a record of borrowed books, other than the ones that are currently checked out to you.
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Old 06-22-2012, 10:33 AM   #14
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being tracked is just a downside of using on line systems

kobo already have a list of my purchases, if google want to anonymously track that i am reading them i have no problem with it
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:12 AM   #15
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...kobo already have a list of my purchases...
Now if only they used that information to give me better book offers, I still get crap on romance and other stuff like that, yet if they were to look at my purchases and selected previews... I only have Sci-Fi books there... Oh well.
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