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Old 02-18-2020, 08:20 AM   #1
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Amazon is monitoring....

I usually yawn my way through the big brother/paranoia articles but this shocked me.
And it is from a BBC news report called How Bezos built his data machine
The author used a freedom of information request for all that Amazon have on him...
"One spreadsheet actually triggers a warning message saying it is too big for my software to handle. It contains details of the 83,657 Kindle interactions I’ve had since 2018, including the exact time of day for each tap. An associated document divides up my reading sessions for each e-book, timing each to the millisecond."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/extra/CLQYZENMBI/amazon-data
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Old 02-18-2020, 08:34 AM   #2
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PS, what annoys me about that disclosure is that about a year ago we had lost a Kindle, so I called Amazon to ask can you tell me where and when it was last used( hoping that would help track it down). Amazon said "sorry we don't keep any data on your Kindle usage". Which, if the above article is true, was a complete lie.
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Old 02-18-2020, 09:08 AM   #3
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PS, what annoys me about that disclosure is that about a year ago we had lost a Kindle, so I called Amazon to ask can you tell me where and when it was last used( hoping that would help track it down). Amazon said "sorry we don't keep any data on your Kindle usage". Which, if the above article is true, was a complete lie.
Well...usage and location are two different things. Kindles don't have gps chips, any location tracking would be done by triangulation. I wouldn't expect the first tier of Amazon CS to know anything specific about usage tracking, nor how to access that info. If Amazon provided that service, they would need an entire new department to handle it. As far as I know, no company provides such a seek-find service. They do have "Find my Device" for the Fire tablets, which has to be enabled on the user side first, for it to work.

All online retailers track searches and purchases. All brick and mortar stores track purchases, if you use a store card for discounts etc. They have video cameras everywhere you go. Credit card companies track spending habits as well.

Perhaps I should, but I don't care that Amazon knows how many reading sessions it took me to finish a book.

The bit about the Echo devices isn't new news. Voice activated devices listen. It's what they do. Everyone has to decide how they feel about such things when deciding if they want the benefits such devices offer.
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Old 02-18-2020, 09:24 AM   #4
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I agree with Deskisamess, and I don't think they keep user stats where they can just type a name and have all the stats and algorithm just pop up tied to one user in particular. This data is likely merged with other tracking of basics such as location, gender, age group, reading habits. It's not a new practice and is typical of the internet. I'm not surprised they weren't able to find a missing kindle due to this.
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Old 02-18-2020, 10:22 AM   #5
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Also, every bit of this is covered in the TOS and PRIVACY notices on Amazon. (According to the location of the user)
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Old 02-18-2020, 11:06 AM   #6
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I uninstalled the Kindle App from my phone as it was attempting to contact Amazon even when I wasn't reading a book. Now I convert to epub to read on a 3rd party app on my phone.
I also won't sign up to Prime or Unlimited etc as a reader, nor KDP Select as a publisher. The Unlimited REQUIRES 100% monitoring per page or the Authors / Publishers don't get paid. It's a very nasty subscription model destroying privacy.

ADE (used for epubs with DRM) reports to Adobe and at one stage was sending statistics of usage in the clear.

Note HTTPS isn't secure when used via a 3rd party WiFi point or some mobile systems.

DRM is a terrible evil.

Note also, a privacy notice doesn't make GDPR violations legal, or immoral monitoring acceptable. Not all contracts are even legally enforceable.
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Old 02-18-2020, 11:10 AM   #7
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I agree with Deskisamess, and I don't think they keep user stats where they can just type a name and have all the stats and algorithm just pop up tied to one user in particular. This data is likely merged with other tracking of basics such as location, gender, age group, reading habits. It's not a new practice and is typical of the internet.
It's usually a lie that data is anonymized. It's just not available to regular help desk people.

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I'm not surprised they weren't able to find a missing kindle due to this.
That's policy. They prefer to blacklist.
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Old 02-18-2020, 11:18 AM   #8
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PS, what annoys me about that disclosure is that about a year ago we had lost a Kindle, so I called Amazon to ask can you tell me where and when it was last used( hoping that would help track it down). Amazon said "sorry we don't keep any data on your Kindle usage". Which, if the above article is true, was a complete lie.
It is a lie. Otherwise "Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) Read from KU and KOLL"
Quote:
Royalties in Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners' Lending Library
You're eligible for royalty payment from Kindle Unlimited (KU, or Abonnement Kindle in France) and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library (KOLL) for pages an individual customer reads in your book for the first time.

A customer can read your book as many times as they like, but we will only pay you for the number of pages read the first time the customer reads them. It may take months for customers to read pages in your book, but no matter how long it takes, we'll still pay you once it happens. This is true even if your KDP Select enrollment period has expired, and you choose not to re-enroll.
I regard DRM and reading monitoring as evils. It's not at all the same as paying a store or online via a credit card for a known item. And in the EU there are rules about that.
The USA before the Internet even brought in laws to forbid Banks making use of any info on a Check (Cheque) other than to clear it (pay it).

Online services, sales and such should be subject to the same laws as historic trading. It's just electronic mail order or advertising, not something different that magically doesn't need any law. Uber, Netflix, Facebook, Google, Amazon, AirBnB.
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Old 02-18-2020, 11:23 AM   #9
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You saying "it is a lie" doesn't actually make it so.
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Old 02-18-2020, 11:25 AM   #10
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fair points on usage vs location..
with the missing Kindle ( since found behind a chest of drawers) I was hoping to establish if I shoudl keep searching the hosue or it it has been left at a friends house on a recent trip. A last-used date would have helped but that was not available also.

Back to the BBC report, I assume anyone curious enough could file the same data freedom request & see what amazon has on them

and with alexa & google equivalents, the tech companies all say there is an option to ask them to scrub your audio snippets history - though arguably you have to be a tad naive to believe that that wipes all instances.

FYI, our grandson is no longer an Alexa fan. He's sussed how grannie uses " Alexa, find my phone" whenever she misplaces the mobile, so when he misplaced his favourite ( fluffy toy) turtle, he confidently expected "Alexa, find my turtle" to work. It didn't.
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Old 02-18-2020, 01:05 PM   #11
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The thing to do is keep all Kindles in airplane mode and the tracking will not be able to happen.
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Old 02-18-2020, 01:20 PM   #12
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They do triangulate, always have. Kindles being ridiculously verbose is nothing new if you've ever looked at system logs (which anyone with physical access to the device can, the ;dumpMessages command is public) .
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Old 02-18-2020, 01:55 PM   #13
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The thing to do is keep all Kindles in airplane mode and the tracking will not be able to happen.
I suspect it uploads a batch file each time it connects. I guess you could never connect and sideload everything but then you lose some features, like whispersync, same collections management?
I would not be bothered with Amazon knowing how long I spent on each page of each book, the paranoia case is if they are forced to hand that data to some intelligence agency to use as profillng evidence.
Also, I guess the detailed reading data is only good for books bought from and downloaded from Amazon, not for sideloads of converted epub, for example.
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Old 02-18-2020, 04:13 PM   #14
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@stumped: Short of potentially throwing a few extra warnings because it's possibly harder to match it to store content, it doesn't change much.

If the matching fails, that effectively turns that bit of data to noise for them, but it's still there, there's not a magic "oh no, it's sideloaded, drop everything" switch .

(Fair warning: if cdeType is EBOK. I would *hope* logging would be tamer for PDOC, but I've never actually left stuff tagged as PDOC for the obvious UI integration issues we're all familiar with, so I've never looked at PDOC logging much).

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Old 02-18-2020, 04:27 PM   #15
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I've got real things to fear and avoid in my daily life. Amazon "tracking" what I read and recording our requests for weather and traffic fall way down at the bottom of the list.
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