Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Privacy Alert for Adobe Digital Editions 4.0 Software

Library and Information Services is concerned about  the security and privacy implications of reports that Version 4.0 of Adobe Digital Editions (ADE 4.0) collects data about user reading habits and transmits this data to Adobe’s servers without encryption, meaning that, Adobe is not only tracking user reading habits, it’s making it easy for others to do so as well.

Some JCU staff and students may have downloaded this software for reading e-books that are provided as part of the Library’s collections. The library e-books that are affected are those from the ProQuest EBL and ebrary collections. These e-books can be read online; however, due to DRM (digital rights management) restrictions, if a user chooses to download a book to a device for offline reading, they must use Adobe Digital Editions software. This is a condition of purchase that has been unavoidable for all libraries providing e-book content.

We are consulting a range of organisations about this issue, including the providers of our e-book packages. We have expressed our concerns and have instructed these providers to also advocate on behalf of all users. 

If you are concerned about using ADE 4.0 to access e-books, you can take one of the following steps:
  1. Read e-books from the ProQuest EBL and ebrary collections online without downloading them, or
  2. Uninstall Version 4 of Adobe Digital Editions and install an earlier version. As far as can be detected, Digital Editions 2 and 3 are unaffected. You can download earlier versions from http://www.adobe.com/support/digitaleditions/downloads.html.
Please note, this issue relates to Adobe Digital Editions 4.0 only. It does NOT relate to the use of Adobe Reader.

If you have any questions please consult your liaison librarian.

Heather Gordon, 
Director Library & Information Services 

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