Kindle Accused of Collecting Massive Amounts of User Data
Charlie Belmer, a privacy and security engineer at DuckDuckGo, a search engine service known for protecting privacy, mentioned in his blog that he found that Amazon’s e-book reader Kindle collects a lot of sensitive user information that has nothing to do with the service Amazon provides, including the user’s browsing habits and the IP location of the local network.
As a result of the Kindle’s behavior, he decided to stop using Kindle.
Belmer said that while Kindle offers a lot of things that you can’t get from reading traditional paper books, such as syncing bookmarks and notes between devices, and synchronizing pages read on all Kindle devices and apps, and of course, there are commercial features such as ads and book recommendations.
However, Belmer’s research shows that the Kindle also tracks every click and interaction performed by the user while reading, sends the time the page was opened, sends how long each page is read, records the first and last characters on the page, and records whether the page is an image or text.
Not only that, but the Kindle also sends back some device information, including the user’s country of residence, local network IP, device information and version, and whether the device is oriented vertically or horizontally. The device does not send these requests immediately after they are made, many of them are stored locally and only uploaded when a certain amount of data is collected, and when the Kindle is offline, Kindle also waits for the device to reconnect to the network before sending this information.
Kindle collects a lot of user information, including information about the Kindle device, usage, and details about each interaction the user has with the device, and Kindle sends over 100 requests to the server just by opening the book, reading a few pages, and then closing it.
The Kindle also sends similar information when the user opens an application, whether running in the foreground or background, and sends text to the Bing translation service, Wikipedia, and Amazon when the user highlights or clicks on any text, none of which is utilized in any of the features related to the user’s intention.