EEK!…WE’RE NOT ALONE!….

In fact, we’re being monitored from the most unexpected corners. But then, with all the stuff that’s been in the news lately about being spied on by the government, maybe we aren’t even surprised.

This morning, I was surfing around on one of my book pages on Amazon. I scrolled down and saw a section called “Highlights,” which is sentences or phrases from my book that have been highlighted in Kindles by readers. It might have been there for a while without my noticing it because I don’t always scroll down the page.

How many of you use the “highlight” feature on your Kindle? Apparently, quite a lot of you because Amazon says there has to be a number of highlights to generate the feature. Amazon apparently tracks “highlights” and the data they glean is what appears on the book page as “Highlights.”

At first blush, I like this feature. It’s flattering to me as an author. I assume Kindle readers highlight a word or words or phrases and sentences because they find them worth remembering for some reason. So it makes me feel good that readers feel that way about my writing.

On the other hand, it really is a sort of an intrusion. If you happen to be a reader who highlights material in the books you read on your Kindle, you now know that activity is being tracked by Amazon. On a deep level, do I want what I and you are highlighting in Kindle to be tracked by them? I don’t know about you, but I don’t. I don’t know what else they might do with that information.

We’ve known for some time that the books we pay for and download from Amazon don’t really belong to us. Amazon has access to the content on our Kindles, thus has the capability of yanking any one or all of the books we consider to be ours. Not that they do that or ever have done that (as far as I know), but the point is they have the technology to do it if they choose to. I don’t know if Nook also can do it.

Here’s my point. I’ve read “Brave New World” and “1984” and two or three other dystopian tales and I thought they were scary. The thing that makes them scary nowadays is the fact that much of the literature that we used to call “science fiction” and “futuristic” is now reality. Our privacy, which is always an issue in dystopian stories and one of the key elements that enables some villain to exploit the population, is disappearing fast.

Smartphones are a perfect example. Most people who own a smartphone have no clue all that it can and will do and wouldn’t know how to make it do those things anyway. But coming up on smartphones and already here in some brands is the phone’s ability to cease to function if it can’t identify your face or your eyes or your fingerprint. It’s a security feature and will keep a phone thief from being able to use the phone if he steals it, but what else can a feature like that be used for?

Every time I turn around, I’m discovering some new aspect of my life that somebody is watching and I don’t think I like that. It makes me wonder if I really need to get rid of my smartphone.

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6 Comments

Filed under Books and Reading

6 responses to “EEK!…WE’RE NOT ALONE!….

  1. Gram

    Probably why we have a land-line and no Kindle-except Kindle for PC which I never look at. Even the www is getting intrusive.

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    • I have to say I luuuv my Kindle. So much that it’s getting harder to read a print book. Since I do most of my leisurely reading in bed before I go to sleep, the Kindle is the ideal venue. If I wake up and can’t go back to sleep right away, I can read on the Kindle without turning on the light. My DH likes that better than having me turn on the light in the middle of the night. 🙂 Silly man.

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  2. Wow you really make me wonder about Amazon. I use them to download books to my Kindle fire and now I wonder if I should? Intrusion from all sort of venues is really getting scary. I don’t have a smartphone! I don’t need one as I have a home computer and only use texting on my phone. That will probably be the next intrusion….Love your books Ann
    .

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    • Thanks for reading them, Linda. ….. I didn’t mean to make you wonder. These little invasions of privacy are the price we pay for the electronic wonders that are available to us these days. The ones I don’t want to give up, by the way. ….. So far, nothing has happened that makes me ready to trash my Kindle. As for Amazon, I didn’t mean to imply that you should fear them. I’m just passing on information. 🙂 ….. Actually, I’m in love with Amazon. The innovations they have brought to retail and customer service are unprecedented. Not only do I love publishing my books there, I also love shopping there. And so far, nothing has happened to make me change my mind about any of that.

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  3. Nancy

    Thanks for putting my thoughts into words!

    Nancy

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    • Hi, Nancy …. Thanks for stopping by my blog. 🙂 Just a few rambling thoughts. Having written all of that, I should add that I’m in love with Amazon. Not only do I love what they’ve done for authors, I love shopping there. They have changed retail for the better.

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