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Adobe Responds to ALA on Spying Scandal With Fictitious and Misleading Statements

The American Library Association reported yesterday that Adobe has responded to the ALA’s concerns about the recent revaluations of Adobe spying on users.

You can find the AlA’s press release here, but the short version is that Adobe is still claiming that sending a user’s reading logs in the clear met the standards of Adobe’s privacy policy. Adobe also continues to pretend that they weren’t also scanning user’s libraries and uploading that info as well.

That last bit has been independently confirmed, a fact which renders Adobe’s continued use of misleading statements as out and out deceptive. Their claim that they only tracked a user’s current reading info has been proven to be false, and yet they stick to it.

While some might argue that tracking a user’s current reading info is a reasonable activity, there is simply no justification for Adobe to scan a user’s hard disk, as I initially misreported the story.

As it turns out, Adobe didn’t actually scan my HD. Instead they scanned the ereader which I had not realized had happened to be plugged in at the time that I was running Adobe DE. I did not authorize that scan, nor did I activate that ereader to use Adobe DRM, and yet Adobe still scanned it and part of my ebook library and uploaded that data to Adobe’s servers.

There is no justification to scan an attached ereader without permission. While Adobe might claim that the data was "collected for purposes such as license validation and to facilitate the implementation of different licensing models", that simply does not make sense for a device which had not been authorized with Adobe’s DRM.

But on the plus side, at least Adobe is now promising to encrypt their spying. They’re not promising to stop it but at least now no one will be able to listen in.

That means that we won’t have to worry – not until the next time that Adobe is hacked and user data is leaked to the web. 38 million users were affected the last time this happened, including ebook users.

I feel real safe with Adobe’s plan to use encryption, don’t you?

image by osseous

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Timothy Wilhoit October 14, 2014 um 1:59 pm

"I did not authorize that scan, nor did I activate that ereader to use Adobe DRM, and yet Adobe still scanned it and uploaded part of my ebook library and uploaded that data to Adobe’s servers."

I’m rather astonished (which is an accomplishment for a cynic) that Adobe would have the audacity to Hoover data from an unauthorized ereader. Considering Adobe wouldn’t allow a DRMed book to be loaded to an unauthorized ereader, it shouldn’t have recognized it at all. I feel perfectly safe in Adobe’s plan for encryption because I’m not going to use ADE. I imagine that when they get around to updating to their new DRM, anything but ADE 4 will probably cease to function. Nope, I don’t think so, they can keep their spyware.

TheGreatFilter October 14, 2014 um 8:56 pm

As long as ADE 3 is spyware free, I’m okay with ADE for now. I won’t upgrade to ADE 4, or if I am forced to, I will install it in a sandbox or on an isolated device. Unfortunately Adobe controls DRM for library borrowing. I see no alternative except to stick the nasty little bugger in a cage.

TheGreatFilter October 14, 2014 um 9:00 pm

The other point that is interesting is Adobe’s arrogance in their reaction to getting caught spying. They don’t give a ****.

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