Friday, November 29, 2013

An Open Book

From: doublebinding

“A Toronto woman denied a flight to New York as part of a cruise trip wants to know who told U.S. border agents about her history of mental illness.
     Ellen Richardson says she was turned away by a U.S. customs agent at Pearson International Airport on Monday because she had been hospitalized for clinical depression in June 2012.
     She missed her flight to New York City and a Caribbean cruise, for which she had paid $6,000, as a result.”
CBC via Huffington Post
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If border officials are making decisions based on medical records, what’s to stop them from checking on reading habits as well?

“For centuries, reading has largely been a solitary and private act, an intimate exchange between the reader and the words on the page. But the rise of digital books has prompted a profound shift in the way we read, transforming the activity into something measurable and quasi-public.
     The major new players in e-book publishing—Amazon, Apple and Google—can easily track how far readers are getting in books, how long they spend reading them and which search terms they use to find books. Book apps for tablets like the iPad, Kindle Fire and Nook record how many times readers open the app and how much time they spend reading. Retailers and some publishers are beginning to sift through the data, gaining unprecedented insight into how people engage with books.”
— Alexandra Alter, The Wall Street Journal
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“As recent weeks [July/August, 2013] of revelations [about the flagrant invasiveness of the NSA] have shown, there's a pretty wide gap between our expectations of privacy, and the privacies that an increasingly digitized world actually affords us. Whatever your feelings about your own privacy, the complexity and opacity of technology means it's often hard to know exactly what information you might be sharing at any given time. And while browsing in a local library, buying a book – with cash – on the high street, and reading at home or on the bus are pretty anonymous activities, as soon as ebooks are involved they're not.”
— James Bridle, The Guardian
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