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Why Your Kindle is an Open Book to the Government


[1]In 1987, the Federal Bureau of Investigation approached Columbia University librarian Paula Kaufman [2]  with a request: keep an eye out for commies.

She refused to cooperate with the bureau’s “library awareness” program and her defiance helped spark a nationwide backlash against government snooping into Americans’ reading habits.

Even knowing the government might be watching, people realized, could change what you choose to read—and in turn alter what you think …

Read Full Article [3] … 

Source: Mother Jones

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3 Comments (Open | Close)

3 Comments To "Why Your Kindle is an Open Book to the Government"

#1 Comment By Michael W. Perry On December 19, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

I’ve never been that impressed by the librarians stance on this. The person behind me in the checkout line knows what books I’m checking out and, given my heavy use of interlibrary loan, it would be trivial to track the books I get that way. Each is openly shelved in a public area with my name attached to a slip of paper.

I’m far more concerned about a situation where the American Library Association is to be on the side of the bad guys. The flip side of censorship (government barriers to publication or distribution) is indoctrination (government requirements to read, listen or watch). You’ll note that Orwell’s 1984 has both. The latter is particularly dangerous when the target population is children.

And yet the ALA, in what I hope is no more that utter cluelessness, routinely treats parental efforts to block indoctrination (i.e. The Catcher in the Rye as required reading), as if that were censorship. That’s makes no sense. Opposing indoctrination isn’t supporting censorship. The books in question are still freely available. And if anything, indoctrination is the far more dangerous of the two, particularly in our digital age where any smartphone or laptop is a printing press.

Keep in mind that, if our schools can, over the objection of parents, require kids to read books of dubious value for the mental health of students, then those same schools can also mandate the reading of works with nasty political agendas.

Nor is that hypothetical. Apparently a debate is developing over Obama administration plans to use the stick of federal funding to force public schools to replace the reading of some novels with ‘factual’ material it judges useful. The very idea that To Kill a Mockingbird will be replaced with EPA propaganda-like tracts on home insulation makes me sick.

–Michael W. Perry, author of Hospital Gowns and Other Embarrassments

#2 Comment By Greg M. On December 19, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

While I’d rather not provide book reading habits to the Government, I’d be more miffed about content providers selling my data to marketers. The Govemnent isn’t going to toss me into prison for reading liberal or atheist books, but every ad sent my way is obnoxious and a waste of time.

#3 Comment By Binko Barnes On December 23, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

I never turn on the wireless on my kindle. I simply side-load content from Calibre and use it to read. Period. So neither Amazon nor the Gov can track me.

A secondary benefit of this is that all the ads have timed out and now I read ad free except for the little notice telling me to turn on my wireless in order to get more “special offers”.

A tertiary benefit is that the battery lasts far longer with wireless always off.