UPDATE, 10/13/14, 3:50pm: The American Library Association and the Library and Information Technology Association have released statements responding to the Adobe situation. A full statement from Adobe has been posted at Infodocket.
A privacy issue has recently come to our attention regarding the use of the Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) 4 Reader, which is the software that may be used to access some of the e-books in the Library’s collections. Version 4 of ADE Reader has been found to log a larger amount of user data than expected. It also sends the information to Adobe servers in a plain-text, unencrypted form. This poses an additional security risk since unencrypted data may be open to interception.
At WSU, Adobe Digital Editions is most often used to access EBSCO ebooks, primarily for Digital Rights Management (DRM) and enforcement of single user restrictions. The vast majority of our e-book titles do not require the use of the ADE Reader. The label “An electronic book accessible through the World Wide Web; click for information” indicates that you can access the book without downloading any software.
We recommend that users with concerns about the operation of the new ADE 4 Reader:
- Uninstall the ADE 4 Reader if you have already downloaded this version.
- Use an older version of the ADE Reader, such as ADE 3, which does not communicate activity to Adobe. The ADE 3 Reader, for instance, does not communicate with Adobe except to validate the license to unlock the DRM protected book. ADE 3 Reader is available for download online.
- If you have an iOS or Android device, use the tablet-based reader app Bluefire Reader. Bluefire Reader is available from WSU Apps for your university tablet. This app can unlock e-books protected with the Adobe DRM but does not communicate reading data to Adobe.
The Library is working with ITS to identify other solutions, and continues to monitor the situation as it develops.