Amazon Resurrects Orwell Annotations and Opens a New Can of Worms

In an attempt to tie up the Orwell debacle, Amazon is offering affected customers replacement copies of “1984” or “Animal Farm” and the reinstatement of any personal annotations. From the New York Times: Amazon said in an e-mail message to…

In an attempt to tie up the Orwell debacle, Amazon is offering affected customers replacement copies of “1984” or “Animal Farm” and the reinstatement of any personal annotations. From the New York Times:

Amazon said in an e-mail message to those customers that if they chose to have their digital copies restored, they would be able to see any digital annotations they had made. [Emphasis added.]

It’s been more than a month since Amazon extracted the questionable Kindle editions, yet assumed-dead user notes now spring phoenix-like from the Orwellian ashes. Why the delay? Amazon, it would appear, claims jurisdiction over the saving, disassociation, and, if it’s feeling magnanimous or motivated, full reinstatement of user notes according to its own schedule.

Playing devil’s advocate, it may be that Amazon felt the controversy surrounding the Orwell deletions warranted back up of the notes, and perhaps the restoration delay was tied to a rights issue. But even with these (potential) explanations, a “surprise note resurrection” reeks of creepiness. If Amazon didn’t delete annotations associated with illegal books — an unfortunate but reasonable bit of collateral damage — then what does it delete? Are the mistakes and alterations in my shopping cart history burned into a permanent record? Can a deleted S3 file miraculously reanimate? I can’t help but raise an eyebrow toward all of Amazon’s services, which is a shame since I admire the company’s non-Kindle offerings.