Adobe begins encrypting user data collected from Digital Editions app

The company was criticized for sending data about content to its servers in plain text

Adobe Systems said it is now encrypting data it collects about certain e-books after facing criticism earlier this month for not protecting the data.

The Digital Reader blog reported on Oct. 6 that Adobe's Digital Editions 4 software, used for downloading and reading e-books, sent detailed logs to Adobe describing readers' activity.

Those logs were not sent using SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security), according to the blog. SSL/TLS encrypts data sent between a client and server, designated by "https" in a browser's URL bar.

In a note about Digital Editions posted Thursday, Adobe said it now periodically collects the data "using HTTPS." The change is made in Digital Editions versions 4.0.1 for Mac and Windows.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation contended that sending the data over plain text "undermines decades of efforts by libraries and bookstores to protect the privacy of their patrons and customers" even if Adobe's practice was a mistake.

Without encryption, the plain-text data could be intercepted and read using network analysis tools such as Wireshark if the data was sent to Adobe while a person was using, for example, a public Wi-Fi network.

Adobe maintains the data is necessary to abide by the DRM (digital rights management) restriction on content, which are imposed by publishers and distributors to protect works from piracy.

The data sent to Adobe includes the title and description of a book, the author, language it's written, the date of purchase or download, the distributor ID, the publisher's list price and ISBN (International Standard Book Number).

In some cases, Adobe may record how long a person reads a book, which is used for "metered" pricing models based on the actual time the content is read.

The company also collects other technical metrics, such as the IP address of the device downloading a book, a unique ID assigned to the specific applications being used at the time and a unique ID for the device.

Adobe said it doesn't collected any personally identifiable information, but may share "anonymous aggregated information with eBook providers to enable billing under the applicable pricing model." It said it doesn't collect information about content without DRM restrictions.

Send news tips and comments to Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags securityAdobe Systems

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments





Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?