Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Word to the Wise: Adobe Digital Editions and privacy reading eBooks


Thanks to helpful reports from Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader and Sean Gallagher at Ars Technica, we learned of some serious security and privacy issues with the Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) ebook reading & management software.

Adobe Digital Editions 4, has been logging data on the books used with this application, and also logging data on other ebooks that have been downloaded on the same device (mobile device or computer). This information is being uploaded in plain text to Adobe servers, without any encryption, meaning that book logging data is potentially open to interception. This privacy breach seems to be limited to Digital Editions 4, the most recent version of the software.

LITS provides access to hundreds of thousands of ebooks and all can be read online.  Due to digital rights management (DRM) restrictions, however, some require Adobe Digital Editions for offline reading.  And you might well have personal ebooks that are using ADE.   If you use ADE and want to protect your right to privacy, we recommend you revert to version 3, which did not have these issues.   Or simply read ebook content online without downloading - at least until this breach is fixed.

In response to a request for information from the American Library Association, Adobe reports they “expect an update to be available no later than the week of October 20”.

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