In a digital world that is (rightly) obsessed with online security and privacy, Adobe seem have have taken the risky and rather silly move of spying on users of their Adobe Digital Editions (V.4) software. Reports have been surfacing that Adobe are tracking vast amounts of detailed information on user habits that seems to go above general user statistics or analytics.
According to Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader, Adobe’s DRM for their latest Epub app is tracking information and uploading it to the Adobe servers, a suspicion that was later confirmed by Benjamin Daniel Mussler, the same security researcher who found the security hole on Amazon.com.
Abode are tracking data on which eBooks have been opened, which pages you’ve been reading, the order of those pages, the title, publisher and metadata, all of which is all being sent to Adobe’s server; to make matters even worse, this data is being sent in clear text, meaning that anyone running a server in between could also easily access the data.
It’s also reported that the software is collecting information on eBooks used in Calibre and any other eBooks that are stored on user hard drives, which tells us that the software is scanning hard drives and other user files. The Digital Reader provided two examples of the data that is being tracked, which you can view here and here. The data was collected by an app called Wireshark and was sending it to 188.8.131.52, one of Adobe’s IP addresses.
This is a stupid mistake on Adobe’s part and one that users should be more informed of; Adobe have failed to respond to these claims so far, but we expect we’ll be hearing an official statement very soon to reflect some kind of update to stop the monitoring or give a very good reason for it (unlikely).
Thank you Digital Reader for providing us with this information.
Image courtesy of WavingCat.