Sunday, December 27, 2009

Electronic E-readers - Tracking of infomation

Yes, I know…. I need to update the blog. So here we go. For Christmas, I received a Sony E-reader. I have no real reason to need one but my parents thought it would be an excellent gift because I can read 350 books on one device. I do not read 350 books in a year. Maybe, just maybe I read 100 books a year. It is not that I do not like reading, I really do. I am fussy about the authors or the topics that I read. I have my favorite authors. I also have topics that catch my attention. I will never need 350 books at one time.

In the interesting of using the tool that I really did not know I needed, I started to research book sources. I came across the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It opened my eyes to a conversation that I should be having with the adults that I recommending these devices too. In general, we think it is "cool" to be able to use a search engine and locate our name and we get all excited on the number of hits we have. Honestly, it is very scary to have that much information on the internet about oneself. That information can be used against you as easily as it can be used in a positive fashion. We do not think about the devices that we are carrying that have Wi-Fi capability. What information are we leaking every time we do a search? Everyone knows that Google the largest search engine used today keeps information on you. The searches you performed. We are supposed to be comforted that it helps them find the things we want faster. It helps Google create better tools for their users (spell check).

Google also has their new Google Book Search Project. Now Google, will have their web servers automatically log the books, pages, how long you viewed the page and what books or pages you go to next (EFF). Now as a teacher, I can find many positive reasons I like this. For instance, I can see what books my students are interested in reading so that I can engage them in reading material of interesting. I can see how long they viewed a page. I then can have a conversation with a student as why it took him so long on a paragraph (vocabulary, comprehension or busy talking to a friend). I can then see if my student picked other books that were a reference from the book that was assigned. For example, if my students were reading Romeo and Juliet, did my students then look up information on where Shakespeare was born or lived, Cliff notes, easier reading or totally off task.

On the other hand, it is disturbing to know that a search engine knows so much information about my likes and dislikes. I barely know what I like and dislike. I am thinking for my next job interview, maybe I should have a Google rep with me so when I draw a blank, he/she can jump in with a list of likes and dislikes. The amount of information that is stored on our searches via our computers, hand held devices and now our e-readers (not the Sony E-reader) can be stored for more information.

The conversation that I need to have with my consumers especially my adult consumers is the pros and cons of the device they are looking to purchase. I must now include a conversation about the information that their device may leave behind. Until I read the article on E-Book Guide to Privacy, I honestly did not give it much thought. It is an important conversation to have. I would rather have knowledge of the information that I may leave behind than not knowing.

I am not a conspiracy freak just think that we are far past big brother watching us. Our mobile phones have GPS, our cars have GPS, our cars have E-Z pass and our watches do everything but tell the correct time.