Adobe ebook DRM secretly builds and transmits a dossier of your reading habits



I love it when unscrupulousness and incompetence come together…


It’s not so much that it’s keeping track of the books you downloaded with DE, as that it’s doing this for all epubs on your hard drive and sending the info in the clear.


Hey, it’s FREE! What do you want for nothing?

It’s gotten so that anything offered for free must be assumed to have some hideous anti-privacy feature built in.


It’s both. The former would be bad enough, the latter crosses into “That sin is unforgivable, not that anyone would want to try.” territory.

(An…amusing… aside: library records are usually treated as particularly sensitive in law, to the degree that any concern is accorded to privacy they are usually among the things that get special mention and/or somewhat higher procedural hurdles. Mere software logs that you ‘voluntarily’ agreed to share with a third party? Pretty much the lowest standard of privacy short of flashing a cop… Even if you are OK with Adobe spying on you, and OK with a company with Adobe’s security record storing records on you, this is pretty much certain to degrade whatever legal protection your reading habits may have enjoyed about as far as is possible…)


What? The whole point of drm is to allow publishers to charge money for what would otherwise be a freely copyable, freely distributable file.

i seem to recall that ereaders were once thought of as a savior for erotic fiction. Everything was in a plain, brown wrapper, so to speak. This inverts that (perhaps in retrospect, foolhardy) expectation.

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Keeping track of the Adobe ebooks themselves would be annoying but understandible. Spying on the other ebooks is an invasion of privacy, and how is this not fraud?

Just more proof that you can have free speech and privacy, or you can have intellectual property/robbery, but you cannot have both.


So now they know that I download a book, unlock it, read the first page and never seem to touch it again.
What’s actually happened is, I’ve stripped the DRM and converted it to an ePub.


Shocking revelation.

Well, it’s a good thing the first thing I do when I buy an e-book is strip off the DRM.


What amazes me most is that somewhere inside Adobe, someone thought this would be a good idea and they green-lit this feature all the way through development and setting up the infrastructure for handling these spyware dumps. How could something like this ever seem like a good idea? Even if the NSA is paying Adobe thousands of dollars per megabyte, the damage to their brand when it is eventually found out, (and, really, how could anyone imagine it wouldn’t be?), must surely amount to much more than the value of this stolen information. It reveals a malign attitude toward their customers. I am uninstalling every Adobe product on all of my computers and handhelds, and I seriously doubt I’ll ever do business with them again.


“Adobe Digital Editions Rich Analytics Solutions support robust insight into consumer engagement and provide a platform for monetization of individualized premium content experiences.”

(Inferred sales pitch for this ‘feature’, which is sold to publishers, not to you.)

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You never fail to defend your corporate overlords, do you? I hope they reward your loyalty.

For myself, I’d kind of like to see Adobe’s dossiers on some of those corporate overlords. Some information in there could be very useful…

I’m talking about the e-reader APP being free as in beer, not the CONTENT being free.

There’s a popular business model for free apps, which is to make them do nasty things. They gain traction in distribution because they’re FREE!

And I am in no way defending this practice, merely pointing it out.


Are they greedy and stupid, or just stupid?

Verified. I got an interesting response from Adobe on it, too—“It’s all good, we follow our privacy policy”


I’ve been using Krzysztof Kowalczyk’s Sumatra PDF to read ebooks in various formats, and haven’t had any problems with it yet. YMMV.


Schtum! Anything protected by DRM is anodyne material designed to keep us docile. These transmissions to los poderosos are actually lulling them, Jerry, they’re lulling them.

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Ahh, Adobe. I’m guessing that they let the programmers who build their installers work on this Adobe Reader project. Happily, some of my rage was lessened when I saw this blurb in the comments of the OP:

This blew up on library Twitter this morning, and several folks who I know are involved in leadership positions at ALA are now getting the wheels turning. I would expect some sort of statement, at the very least, relatively soon.
Time for me to reup on my ALA membership at the very least. It's really quite amazing that Acrobat and Reader have gotten as far as they have--it's just a fucking JPG of text, for crying out loud.

spoken like someone who is familiar with neither standard.

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