California’s new privacy law, CCPA, is already proving to be a great decision. California residents requesting their data from companies has given us an insider’s look on the kind of information that is collected about us daily and sold between corporations and advertisers.
Investigative reporter Adrianne Jeffries tweeted yesterday a screenshot of her Amazon Kindle data that she requested.
Obviously she cut off the book titles and other sensitive information, but what she showed is still rather alarming.
The spreadsheet included very specific activites like “NextPageWithTap” and “CycleReadingProgressSetting” along with timestemps for each event.
Amazon is quite literally tracking touch input events, storing this data, using it for behavioral prediction and who knows what more, and ultimately probably also selling it to advertisers.
But even if they don’t sell it to anyone, Amazon itself is the world’s largest retailer.
Anything that helps them figure out who is more likely to buy what and when is undoubtedly going to be a key factor in their sales, and likely was a strong force behind their meteoric rise.
Ms Jeffries further points out that this is only one of the files included in the report.
Another column, possibly from a different spreadsheet file, was a boolean determining whether the book being read was purchased from Amazon or not.
Another Twitter user John Lagomarsino suggested that this data is how they calculate the estimated number of minutes left, based on one’s reading speed.
To which she responded: “how long do they need to retain it for that though.”
Another user suggested this data is used to make sure the book is indeed being read, to detect possible fraud in the form of fake readership, since it pays authors based on pages read.