“Adobe is Spying on Users, Collecting Data on Their E-book Libraries.” This was the title of an article by Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader on October 6, and though there have been updates since then, the privacy breach has not been resolved just yet.
Overdrive, our digital library platform, requires the use of the Adobe Digital Editions software, so library patrons’ data has been exposed. To clarify: The Overdrive app does not use ADE4. Patrons who have upgraded to ADE4 on their computers can go back to using an earlier version until the privacy issues with ADE4 are resolved. We as librarians take this very seriously; our Code of Ethics states, “We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.”
In this case, the software we relied on to keep patron data secure and private has failed. Our library director is working with the Minuteman Library Network and the Massachusetts Library Association to address this issue. In the meantime, those who have not yet upgraded to the new version of Adobe Digital Editions (ADE4) should continue using an older version of the software. Another alternative anyone can use is the Overdrive Read option, which allows you to read an e-book in your browser, whether or not you are connected to the Internet.
Here are a few more articles on this topic:
- “Adobe’s e-book reader sends your reading logs back to Adobe – in plain text” by Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica
- “ebooks choices and the missing soul of librarianship” by Andromeda Yelton
- “Adobe Digital Editions and infoleaks” by Jason Griffey
- “Verifying our tools; a role for ALA?” by Galen Charlton
- “(Failing to) Protect Patron Privacy” by Jenny Arch
- “Privacy Concerns About E-book Borrowing” from the Waltham Public Library
- “Adobe Responds to ALA on egregious data breach,” American Library Association
- “ADE in the Library Ebook Data Lifecycle,” Library Information and Technology Association
- “Adobe Responds to ALA Concerns Over E-Book Privacy,” Publishers Weekly
- Overdrive’s statement about adobe Digital Editions privacy concerns