ADOBE HAS PLAYED DOWN TALK that it is snooping on e-book readers, saying that it tracks users only for "licence validation".
In a statement sent to The INQUIRER, Adobe downplayed reports that it is tracking e-book and e-document readers, saying there is nothing sinister to it.
A spokesperson for the company said in a statement: "Adobe Digital Editions allows users to view and manage e-books and other digital publications across their preferred reading devices, whether they purchase or borrow them.
"All information collected from the user is solely for purposes such as licence validation and to facilitate the implementation of different licensing models by publishers.
"Additionally, this information is solely collected for the e-book currently being read by the user and not for any other e-book in the user’s library or read/available in any other reader.
The accusation came from the Digital Reader website and Nate Hoffelder, its editor. Hoffelder said that he was tipped to the issue by a 'hacker' associate and has tested and confirmed its authenticity.
At the nut of the issue is Digital Editions 4, which has more features than its users expected.
"My source told me, and I can confirm, that Adobe is tracking users in the app and uploading the data to their servers," he said.
"Adobe is gathering data on the e-books that have been opened, which pages were read, and in what order. All of this data, including the title, publisher and other metadata for the book, is being sent to Adobe's server in clear text. I am not joking."
Hoffelder said that the data is sent from hardware to server in plain text, and that it takes other information with it, including metadata from e-books stored on the user's hard drive. He added that he is shocked, and has put the issue to Adobe but failed to get a response.
Hoffelder has uploaded documents with information from tracking software Wireshark that shows material leaving his computer and going to an Adobe IP address.
"This is a privacy and security breach so big that I am still trying to wrap my head around the technical aspects, much less the legal aspects," he said.
"I would highly recommend that users avoid running Adobe's apps for the near future - ever again, for that matter. Luckily for us there are alternatives." µ
Report calls on UK gov to do more to support Brit businesses
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