My mom is a little suspicious of modern technology. In fact, she won’t use a loyalty card at the grocery store because she doesn’t want “them” to know what she’s buying. I have to admit, it is a little creepy when the cash register prints out coupons that are specifically geared to whatever the algorithm tells it you might want based on your current purchase of peach yogurt, motor oil, Scotch tape, six miniature bagels, and a greeting card. It does remind you that Big Brother is indeed watching.
A whole bunch of Kindle owners felt Big Brother’s gaze fall on them recently when—I am not making this up—George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm were deleted from their electronic readers. Apparently, Amazon discovered they didn’t actually have the rights to the works and rescinded them from their customer’s devices.
For some reason, I always thought of the Kindle as being sort of a one-way device like one of those clocks that resets itself according to an atomic clock hidden in a secret bunker in Colorado. Sure, your friendly little clock on the nightstand occasionally sends in a request for the most precise approximation of Pacific Daylight Time, but the big, scary atomic guy on the other end isn’t going to sneak in through your wireless signal and reset your alarm or something.
While some people are really up in arms about the legality of both sides of this, I have to worry about the “loner” who was reading 1984 for the 73rd time taking this as confirmation that his tinfoil hat has failed and “they” truly are reading his thoughts. While I will admit that having your books deleted is more than a little annoying, I suppose the bigger issue is probably about a great big entity going in and deciding what is and is not acceptable for the individual.
There should be a word for that kind of thing. Like, we should find an author who wrote books about that topic and come up with a term based on his last name or something. 😉
(On the plus side, they could start offering coupons to those customers for Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World…)