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Old 12-10-2019, 01:44 PM   #1
DejaVu123
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Ereader with Privacy AND Internet Access

Hi,
I'm new to the ereader world, but I am interested in buying one so I can have a dedicated reading device. I have been searching through the forums for the last few days and, being a linux/open source person, have been looking for an ereader that I can use without having to worry about data collecting/Google/analytics. However from what I can see, there seems to be no secure way of doing this except for "just keep in airplane mode."
While there is KOreader and other open source software (which I will probably use), I would like the ereader to be able to access the internet so I can search on Gutenburg/AO3/Archive and download ebooks on the device (since this is mostly how I go about reading on my smartphone).
If you have any recommendations on how I could do this, I would be very grateful. I am currently looking at the 'Kobo Glo' on eBay (budget -£80), but that is also known to use analytics from Google and Kobo themselves.
Thank you for any help!
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Old 12-10-2019, 02:39 PM   #2
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You can use a Kobo with an imaginary email address. Then it's pretty private. Do turn off autosync and all reporting features.

The Kindle needs an email address of a real Amazon account and wants a debit/credit card at setup. A solution is gift voucher for the same marketplace. No bank or location details then needed. The Kindle apps are far worse, on PC or Android they are spyware.

Note Adobe DRM contacts Adobe. So can't use any Retailer or Library using Adobe DRM (Smashwords is DRM free).

Due to GDPR they are legally obliged to have opted out by default.

I use my Kindle (real ereader, not app) to buy an Amazon book, if I can't get it on Smashwords. I select "download to PC and transfer via USB". Then use Calibre with a plug in to remove DRM (if there is any, some don't) using the Kindle's serial number (which can copy/pasted from your content management page on Amazon.).

Also you can't so easily create collections on a Kindle from Calibre and not at all if it's not registered.

So I read EVERYTHING on the Kobo. It's also best for annotations via Calibre and Kobo Utilities.
I keep WiFi off except if doing a lookup in a book (Kindle or Kobo). Web pages are ghastly on ereaders.

Madness downloading on the device. I download on my Linux laptop. Often the PD ebooks need cleaned up (Calibre can do this in most cases. In extreme cases I export RTF, read that into LibreOffice Writer, fix styles etc, save archive as .odt and "save as" .docx to import back to Calibre. Then convert to epub.

Also I like to have backups.

The Kobo Touch N905C, Aura H2O original and Libra H2O I have all just work. I use epub2 rather than kepub. I have no need to patch or use KOreader (though you can), though there are some small irritating "features" and maybe one bug.

I have other ereaders for testing ebooks we create and sell. I've also read review of most. The Kobo Libra H2O seems good value and Kobo better than other brands. I have two sorts of Kindle for testing and also to buy books only on Amazon.
I do have a lot from gutenberg.
The ones on Archive.org are often unproofed OCR, so I now often download the PDF (Forma would be better, but Libra far better than Paperwhite or original H2O). If the margins or background is bad I use GIMP, to resize/import PDF, export as mng, (motion PNG, each frame is a page, reverse order), (ImageMagick not safe to read PDFs) process mng into a PDF with trimming, brightness, contrast, bitdepth using ImageMagick. Even that you have to edit the permission settings (for PDF write, don't enable read!).

Last edited by FrustratedReader; 12-10-2019 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 12-10-2019, 03:27 PM   #3
DejaVu123
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Thank you for the reply!

Quote:
You can use a Kobo with an imaginary email address. Then it's pretty private. Do turn off autosync and all reporting features.
Using the imaginary email is a good idea. I didn't realise you were able to turn of reporting features on Kobo, would this be found in the settings menu? Only I heard that there was some uncertainty on how much data they send, leading me to think they may not allow it to be turned off easily.

Quote:
I use my Kindle (real ereader, not app) to buy an Amazon book, if I can't get it on Smashwords. I select "download to PC and transfer via USB".
I will probably use Calibre, I just wanted to make sure I did not have to always use it when getting a new ebook on my device.

Quote:
So I read EVERYTHING on the Kobo. It's also best for annotations via Calibre and Kobo Utilities.
I keep WiFi off except if doing a lookup in a book (Kindle or Kobo). Web pages are ghastly on ereaders.
The annotations feature sounds useful. I as well will probably use the web browser mostly for just looking up books (apparently the web browser on 'Kobo Glo' is only experimental, but it should be usable).

Quote:
Madness downloading on the device. I download on my Linux laptop. Often the PD ebooks need cleaned up (Calibre can do this in most cases. In extreme cases I export RTF, read that into LibreOffice Writer, fix styles etc, save archive as .odt and "save as" .docx to import back to Calibre. Then convert to epub.
For larger collections of ebooks (such as from Gutenburg), I will probably download from my laptop as well. In what way is it difficult to download directly from the ereader, is it due to the filesystem?

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The Kobo Libra H2O seems good value and Kobo better than other brands.
Thank you very much for the advice. I'll have a look into the Kobo Libra H20 as well.
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Old 12-11-2019, 11:06 AM   #4
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FrustratedReader may also be speaking as someone who creates the great books in the mobileread library. To save time when looking for a classic, first look there. The books have already been lovingly formatted.

Just download them to your computer then sideload using usb to your ereader, whichever one you choose. Turning off the wifi will save battery too.
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Old 12-11-2019, 01:11 PM   #5
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Smile

That makes sense now. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 01-12-2020, 03:27 PM   #6
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Hey, even thought is a litle bit old thread, just registered to say that i am too pretty concerned when it comes to big corps sucking my data, and I jailbreaked specifically to use BBB firewall on my kindle, which blocks all connections to Amazon.

Its looking pretty good! The creator does stated that it could use a review on the blocked IPs (which I plan to do sometime in the "near" future), but no weird connections spotted so far..


PS: I have always used it on airplane mode, but it IS nice to be able to download news and saved articles directly to my kindle everyday..

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Old 01-12-2020, 03:46 PM   #7
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What is the need to keep Readers from talking to Amazon or Kobo or B&N, etc.?
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Old 01-12-2020, 03:59 PM   #8
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Privacy is a right, not something a company decides on.
How secure is the data?
Who are they selling it to?

Some countries you can be arrested or lynched or legally sentenced to death for what you read.

Some companies it may hinder promotion or get you "pushed out" if they disagree with what you read.

Or it might mean you can't adopt, or don't get interviewed for a job, or get put on a secret watch list.

If you buy a physical book, CD, DVD etc with cash you're anonymous. The monetisation of personal data via epurchases, credit card & loyalty card data to Google etc is immoral and dangerous. In some countries and even now in California, some aspects are illegal.

Obviously many people don't care, or won't till it's too late.

Note to Tech Companies: Dystopian fictions are NOT blueprints, they were warnings.

I do not use "Pocket". That is too much extra information on me. If I want web pages on my ereader I copy and paste from a browser with all kinds of scripts & tracking blocked into LibreOffice, Save As Doc and export as DocX. Then Calibre.
I lived in a more dangerous country I'd use anonymous Internet access for anything other than the State Media.

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Old 01-12-2020, 04:57 PM   #9
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What is the need to keep Readers from talking to Amazon or Kobo or B&N, etc.?
The hability to use your own device as you want, without having to agree with an EULA. The same happens with most closed-source android and iOS apps.

EULAs are related to services, not to hardware and you normally buy the hardware without signing a contract. So you're into the right to use the hardware as you want. Open it, break it, change the software, avoid registering, etc).

Some people are worried about their data, others just simply don't want the service at all and avoid any kind of communication with mothership.
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Old 01-12-2020, 06:41 PM   #10
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The big companies collect statistics for sale. Not individual names and individual opinions. There are 7 billion people on the planet. It makes no sense to try and keep track of individuals based on their habits. Now a camera with recognition is a different story if you are in China but that is not a company but a government.

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Old 01-12-2020, 08:26 PM   #11
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From the queries that have appeared on mobileread recently, there seems to be a new generation of paranoid ereader users. Is this part of the dreaded 'snowflake' generation? Or do they know something that experienced users don't?

Personally, I think they're being a bit over-cautious. Just by using the internet they are open to information harvesting and hackers.

Anyone feel like this conversation has cropped up in lots of threads over the past year?

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Old 01-12-2020, 09:07 PM   #12
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Seems that way. While I watch where and how I provide info about me in general, on my ereaders I don’t as I don’t have email and other data on the dedicated ones, and on the Nova Pro I don’t use email or the browser. I have other gear for doing things other than reading books.


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Old 01-12-2020, 09:31 PM   #13
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Anyone feel like this conversation has cropped up in lots of threads over the past year?
Maybe it's because there is generally a growing awareness of how pervasive the surveillance has become. Google, Facebook and others have been in the mainstream news a lot over the last year or two because of data collection and data resale practices. Some people who originally didn't see a problem are now becoming concerned. Data aggregators are taking the data from many sources and combining it into massive databases; many security sources say de-anonymizing the data is trivial. Several news articles have documented results where specific individuals were easily identified and their activities tracked. It has been reported that several employment screening companies are offering dossiers on individuals that companies are considering hiring. It seems to me a prospective employee's reading habits would be of interest to some employers.

Not to mention that Adobe was caught using ADE to upload inventories of side-loaded books to user accounts on Adobe servers regardless of origin or DRM status of the books. At first they denied it was happening, then they claimed it was a "bug" in ADE and promised not to do it again. The "bug" excuse is certainly convenient (Facebook uses that excuse a lot), but how would we know if they accidentally reintroduced that "bug"?
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/1...-e-reader-mess
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:40 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by BookCat View Post
From the queries that have appeared on mobileread recently, there seems to be a new generation of paranoid ereader users. Is this part of the dreaded 'snowflake' generation? Or do they know something that experienced users don't?

Personally, I think they're being a bit over-cautious. Just by using the internet they are open to information harvesting and hackers.
..?
yes, and also they trust mobileread with their contact and profile details ( unless those are fake) and more naively they trust whatever browser they use to post here with who knows what info

whats the going rate for MR users reading habits on the dark web
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Old 01-13-2020, 07:16 AM   #15
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The big companies collect statistics for sale. Not individual names and individual opinions.
Not true. There is a reason why it's called big data.
Sometimes it's been accidentally exposed.
Most so-called "anonymised" data can be connected to real people. Google/Alphabet's Health data with NHS.
It's been proven they track & sell info on individuals, correlating even DNS lookups, IP, analytics, advert scripts, sites using scripts in Social Media icons rather than a link. cookies, clear pixels, browser fingerprinting (the Web design is horribly flawed), browser even reports previous site visited.

The most dystopian fiction writers of 1930s to 1980s couldn't in wildest nightmares have imagined the degree of corporate and state surveillance via the Internet, mobile phone (metadata, voice, SMS, location), GPS in cars also connected via embedded mobile (for diagnostics), CCTV, IoT, smart speakers and home security kit. UK is one of the most CCTV countries. There is ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) which unlike facial recognition works fairly well.
Smart TVs that report to up to three companies the metadata of broadcast program and discs used (if an HDMI connected player) apart from app & internet usage. Do NOT connect any player or TV to the internet, use your phone, tablet or laptop for extra content.
IoT such as Nest, Ring, Sonos and other smart speakers that report all usage to the Corporate.
Corporate co-operation with intelligence agencies EVEN in Democratic Western countries. Note only a minority of Internet users live in countries with any pretence of needing a warrant to tap communications.
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