Addressing data privacy issues around Adobe Digital Editions

— by Jim L.

Yesterday, Nate Hoffelder, the editor of The Digital Reader blog reported that the newest version of the Adobe Digital Editions software (ADE 4) appears to be transmitting data about eBooks back to Adobe’s servers.

The Library’s primary eBook distributor, OverDrive, uses Adobe’s Digital Rights Management software to help enforce the rules that publishers require to permit libraries to lend eBooks. The Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) application is used to setup Adobe IDs, which are required for you to borrow and read library eBooks. Often, the process of setting up and configuring an Adobe ID happens while you’re checking out your first library eBook and rarely needs to be repeated.

ADE can also be used to manage your eBook collection and even to read eBooks. A friend of Hoffelder’s discovered that ADE version 4 gathers and transmits data in plain text about eBooks that have been opened, which pages were read, and in what order. Hoffelder’s article includes samples of data captures and screenshots that seem to bear this out.

According to another source, this issue appears to only affect users who use ADE on a desktop computer for reading and managing eBooks. If users use the OverDrive app or an e-reader device to actually read eBooks, it does not appear that they are affected. Continue reading “Addressing data privacy issues around Adobe Digital Editions”

How I Learned to Love My Kindle (with a little help from my friends)

Ok. Ok. I’m a laggard. Now, I don’t consider myself to be a Luddite, but I’ve been hanging on to print for dear life. But, the 13 hour flight to New Zealand loomed ever closer. Was I really going to lug all of that paper with me? Of course, it wouldn’t have been just one book. The idea of being trapped with a book that I didn’t like has always propelled me to bring a variety of reading matter on my travels, from old New Image of a Kindle Touch courtesy of welle23 via FlickrYorkers (judiciously saved) to the ever growing pile of books from one too many trips to Powell’s. It was time to commit. I did have to make some serious choices. Would it be a Touch or a Fire? I had already given up on my heart’s true desire, an iPad, as too pricey. No wannabe me, I bought the Touch.

Was it easy to set-up? Yes. Was it easy to read the font? Yes. Did the Library’s downloads work? Like a charm (with some fabulous directions). It even saved me from blindness as the booklight on my Kindle’s case illuminated the text despite the crazy angle of the plane’s overhead spotlight. Even so, did it drive me absolutely crazy? You bet. Where were the page numbers? And that Touch control left a lot to be desired. Either I landed up poking the screen at multiple points to turn the page, or worse yet, I suddenly found myself pages ahead or behind myself. Now don’t get me started on bookmarks. If you don’t bookmark that important passage, you know, the one that identifies all of the valets and ladies maids in that English house mystery, how are earth are you supposed to find the right page in Chapter 1? And the worst of all was that I couldn’t get rid of other readers’ highlighted passages. Now, what are friends for but to explain patiently about the menu options which change depending on your screen location. Even then, it was hard to find the settings option.

Reading an eBook in flight courtesy of diane cordell via FlickrBut persevere I did. And, as I flew many thousands of miles over the Pacific, I did manage a few good reads. The valets and ladies maids did ultimately straighten themselves out in Anne Perry’s Ashworth Hall. And then there was The Best American Crime Reporting, a wonderful catalog of depravity and weirdness. Most delightful of all was The Hare with Amber Eyes (not available as an ebook from The Library). I learned about netsuke and the amazing journey of a family’s collection from Belle Epoque Paris to wartime Vienna to postwar Japan.

I guess I’m hooked, at least for my next set of travels. But meanwhile, I’ll return to that pile of books by my bed.