40 Replies Latest reply on Oct 31, 2014 3:01 AM by luvbooksCM
      • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
        kamas716

        NOT surprising that a company is spying on it's customers.What I find sad is that so many of us just accept it as a part of life these days. My daughter's generation will likely never know what a world without intrusive surveillance is like. And it's coming from all quarters. The government is looking at what we're doing just as much as the private companies.

        • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
          Schwa

          Looking at the data collected, I don't see anything intrusive to my privacy or anything that amounts to more than what web cookies usually collect.

           

          Meh.

            • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
              bobstro

              It's the intended use of that data that's intrusive. They're not just saying that they're gathering anonymous usage data, or data necessary to support features, but rather that they're specifically gathering user-identifiable data (account info, IP Address, machine detail) on books, whether Adobe sourced or not, for, among other things, license compliance. Why do I have to worry about answering to Adobe for non-DRM books bought from O'Reilly? Apparently, Adobe just wants to track my habits "for my own good".

               

              Considering that most public libraries use Adobe-based DRM, this gives Adobe considerable insight into the private habits of a large swath of the population. Of course, corporations are only looking out for our own interests, so I'm sure nothing bad can come of this. We should welcome Amazon installing cameras in our living rooms as well. You know, to "improve the user experience".

            • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
              erken

              All the Nook readers and software do the exact same thing - they report back the titles and pages read of any title (including sideloaded), and report back the titles.  Everyone knows to rename anything embarrassing before copying to the sd card, so all the mothership knows is that you are reading "boring report 1.epub".


              The problem with Adobe appears to be that they are used in a library context.  The Nook hardware/software presumably is forbidden from library usage (because of this data collection).

                • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
                  bobstro

                  erken wrote:

                  All the Nook readers and software do the exact same thing - they report back the titles and pages read of any title (including sideloaded), and report back the titles. 

                  Can you cite a reference? None of the other readers, so far as I am aware, have been recorded sending not only data on ebooks in the collection they manage, but actively searching the user's hard drive for other ebooks and sending detailed data on those to the mothership as well, along with detailed user data such as account info, IP address and other clearly-identifiable information. In addition, it's all being sent in the clear with no obfuscation, allowing easy intercept and monitoring by anybody along the path with means to do so (e.g. snoopy ISPs, government agencies).

                  erken wrote:

                  [...] Everyone knows to rename anything embarrassing before copying to the sd card, so all the mothership knows is that you are reading "boring report 1.epub".

                  That would hardly matter if the information within those ebooks is included in what's being sent. If the content of Watership Down is erotica, political or about sexual orientation, they'll know, along with who you are, when you accessed it and from where. A private corporation is gathering this data.

                    • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
                      keriflur

                      Bob George wrote:

                      If the content of Watership Down is erotica, political or about sexual orientation, they'll know, along with who you are, when you accessed it and from where. A private corporation is gathering this data.

                      I'm not sure why they'd care, though, in the US, anyway, other than for marketing purposes. I know in a lot of places this kind of thing matters, but here, information gathering is all about making money, not taking names.

                        • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
                          bobstro

                          keriflur wrote:

                          I'm not sure why they'd care, though, in the US, anyway, other than for marketing purposes.

                          True, but I always like to apply the "J. Edgar" principle. If you worry what somebody in power such as J. Edgar Hoover was might do with the info, it's best to put limits on them up front.

                           

                          Not to mention that Adobe's helpfully spewing the information in clear text, making it easier for J. Edgar.

                            • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
                              bobstro

                              [Edit: Figured out how to edit!] Just wanted to add mention of the famous case of Target outing a pregnant teen who hadn't told her parents yet. Even if used "only for marketing purposes", some might not appreciate it if marketing oriented towards what Adobe and others perceive as their demographic starts to show up in the family mailbox.

                                • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
                                  bobstro

                                  Gah! Must figure out if it's possible to edit after posting replies. And Deesy thought lack of spell check was bad!

                                   

                                  I've gotten used to going back and refining posts. Here's a link to the Target story. Even if "the data" shows that there's a 98% chance I'd buy Hummel figurines, I would rather not be targeted by their marketing.

                                    • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
                                      keriflur

                                      Bob George wrote:

                                       

                                      And Deesy thought lack of spell check was bad!

                                      LOL. Deesy would HATE these new forums. We'd never hear the end of it.

                                      • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
                                        DeanGibson

                                        Bob George wrote:

                                         

                                        Gah! Must figure out if it's possible to edit after posting replies.

                                        Well, I just edited a message that I posted two days ago.  Now to go see if I can edit one I posted two years ago ...

                                         

                                        The bad news is that the message I edited, marks the thread as just changed, but I don't think there is any way for a reader to find which message I changed.  Dumb if trueEdit:  when you click on "last reply", you really get that, even if it is an edit to an earlier message in the thread.  Isn't collaboration wonderful?

                                         

                                        Edit:  I just edited a 3-year-old message.

                                         

                                        Note: When you edit a message earlier in a thread, it changes the timestamp of the message (and the thread) to the time of the edit.

                                         

                                        I wonder if it's time to insert a few videos in old messages ...

                                         

                                        Edit #2: Yes, I am able to edit my previous responses in this thread.

                                          • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
                                            bobstro

                                            Dean Gibson wrote:

                                            [...] Well, I just edited a message that I posted two days ago.  Now to go see if I can edit one I posted two years ago ...

                                             

                                            The bad news is that the message I edited, marks the thread as just changed, but I don't think there is any way for a read to find which message I changed.  Dumb if true.

                                            From what I can see, the original message in a thread can be edited, but not responses. I've gotten into the habit of tweaking after posting to clarify points. I can see that I need to use an external editor for lengthy stuff that I care about.

                                             

                                            Surprisingly, I'm able to paste some elaborate formatting from LibreOffice Writer. Looks like I can use font and color changes and other features not directly supported in the web editor:

                                             

                                            This is a test using some mixed formatting pasted directly from LibreOffice Writer ʘ11

                                            1Footnote

                                             

                                            Now we can really geek out!

                                              • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
                                                DeanGibson

                                                Bob George wrote:

                                                 

                                                From what I can see, the original message in a thread can be edited, but not responses. ...

                                                 

                                                The 3-year-old message I edited was a response.  Maybe I have more powers than you do ... Oh, wait;  I lost all my Kudos ...

                                                 

                                                There seems to be no easy way to find my old messages, and a search on "Cookbook" (perhaps you came after that humorous thread) did not produce any results ...

                                                 

                                                Edit: I've edited an earlier message in this thread, so in order to make this (later) message the "last" (Bob: remember that thread?) message, I'm editing it just in order to edit it.  I hope that's clear ...

                                                 

                                                Edit #2: Yes, I am able to edit my previous responses in this thread.

                                                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                          • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
                                            keriflur

                                            Yeah, I think it's good to know that they're doing it, and I'm glad to know, because if I DID have something I wanted to hide, I could do that. I just don't think it's the crisis that sometimes people think this kind of thing is. If you connect to the internet, you should ASSUME people/companies/governments are trying to spy on you.

                                              • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
                                                bobstro

                                                True, but generally we've been able to assume they haven't been rousting our hard drive in the process, and at least had clearly worded privacy statements. It's the active hunting down of information, regardless of where the user has "hidden" it that bothers me. OK, cool, if it's in my ADE-managed collection of stuff, if the Privacy Policy allows it, I can't complain. But digging around for it? Not so cool. Just how comfortable are they doing through our stuff? If they manage to get ahold of our cloud storage account credentials, should they feel free to rifle through those drawers?

                                        • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
                                          erken

                                          bobstro wrote:

                                           

                                          erken wrote:

                                          All the Nook readers and software do the exact same thing - they report back the titles and pages read of any title (including sideloaded), and report back the titles. 

                                          Can you cite a reference? None of the other readers, so far as I am aware, have been recorded sending not only data on ebooks in the collection they manage, but actively searching the user's hard drive for other ebooks and sending detailed data on those to the mothership as well, along with detailed user data such as account info, IP address and other clearly-identifiable information. In addition, it's all being sent in the clear with no obfuscation, allowing easy intercept and monitoring by anybody along the path with means to do so (e.g. snoopy ISPs, government agencies).

                                           

                                          B&N confirmed it 2 years ago:
                                          http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304870304577490950051438304

                                           

                                          An example from IPAD was posted on here Nook readers and Nookanalytics? - MobileRead Forums

                                          It was also mentioned in these forums (unanswered) Can I disable the reporting of my reading habits?

                                           

                                          Using Fiddler2 it is possible to capture a trace from Nook Reader for Win8, and see the upload, including the filename of your side-loaded titles (as well as the internal file names - eg, ch1.xhtml)

                                           

                                          So, yes, B&N will send account information, IP address, title, page-turn times, etc to their servers.  I think they mostly use HTTPS, so not as many people can see it.


                                          And while it generally doesn't matter, if you happen to become a public figure your reading history would certainly be more valuable.

                                            • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
                                              bobstro

                                              erken wrote:

                                              B&N confirmed it 2 years ago:
                                              http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304870304577490950051438304

                                              That is definitely a related case, and I do wish there were better protections in place across the board. However, the Adobe approach strikes me both as much more intrusive (looking at everything, not just what's in the app library) and clumsy (lack of any protection). Another problem with Adobe (not the book seller) doing this is that they're often (if not now, largely, the ONLY) means of obtaining non-Amazon ebook, including library books.

                                               

                                              I understood that you were implying it was OK for Adobe to do it because others were (which we've seen here). I agree that it's a problem when any entity does it. After all, how else did B&N determine that eink owners buy more books. If there were at least legal protections in place ensuring that such data had to be anonymized I'd be much more comfortable. As it is, that data goes onto hard drives that may be acquired by other companies in the future as assets that we have no control over.

                                                • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
                                                  keriflur

                                                  B&N can determine easily if eink owners buy more nookbooks than non-eink owners without ever mining either computers or devices, simply by looking at account purchases and associated devices. Take all the accounts, separate them into "has eink attached to account" and "doesn't have eink attached to account" and run sales numbers on the groups. No mining required.

                                                  • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
                                                    erken

                                                    bobstro wrote:
                                                    I understood that you were implying it was OK for Adobe to do it because others were (which we've seen here). I agree that it's a problem when any entity does it. After all, how else did B&N determine that eink owners buy more books. If there were at least legal protections in place ensuring that such data had to be anonymized I'd be much more comfortable. As it is, that data goes onto hard drives that may be acquired by other companies in the future as assets that we have no control over.

                                                    When observing reading data is done by all the players in the industry, singling out one actor misses the big picture.


                                                    B&N devices and software link reading habits to your real name, verified billing address and credit card number.  Adobe (as far as I recall) just gets an email address and library card number.


                                                    When B&N gets bought up, who is going to buy the treasure trove of data?  I don't believe there is any law against providing a service that checks people against their reading habits -- potential employees, potential dates, etc?  

                                                      • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
                                                        bobstro

                                                        erken wrote:

                                                        When observing reading data is done by all the players in the industry, singling out one actor misses the big picture.

                                                        I disagree. That "one actor" has far more reach into libraries, schools and homes due to it being just about the sole DRM technology for epub ebooks. I can't think of any other than Amazon with as much reach into the activities of ebook readers. Yes, others should be called out, but when Adobe does it and is called out for it, hopefully that will get the attention of more of the public. Indeed, this is happening with the libraries reviewing the implications of Adobe's actions. Saying nothing just because "others do it" is no solution.

                                                         

                                                        If a small bookseller were to try to impose terms in the way Amazon has, it wouldn't be news. It's news-worthy because Amazon has such a far reach. Same with abuse of customer and patron privacy.

                                                        erken wrote:

                                                        [...] When B&N gets bought up, who is going to buy the treasure trove of data?  I don't believe there is any law against providing a service that checks people against their reading habits -- potential employees, potential dates, etc?  

                                                        That's the point. Perhaps there should be laws prohibiting such behaviors for exactly that reason (among others). In fact, Adobe may have already violated several laws, particularly if they were tracking the detailed habits of minors in some jurisdictions. Then there will be the interesting international implications if they've been doing this worldwide.

                                                         

                                                        We'll be in a bad spot if we decide one day that corporations and/or government have gone too far with invading our privacy and only then trying to get it back. These entities should be obligated to present a clear case for exactly what they are doing and why they need to. Then, if we agree to those terms, they should be permitted to gather data within the limits of the stated policy.

                                                  • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
                                                    roustabout

                                                    "None of the other readers, so far as I am aware, have been recorded sending not only data on ebooks in the collection they manage, but actively searching the user's hard drive for other ebooks and sending detailed data on those to the mothership as well, along with detailed user data such as account info, IP address and other clearly-identifiable information"

                                                     

                                                    from what I saw tonight, it looks as if Ade is searching not the harddrive as a whole but the e-reader as a whole.  and even there I'm not sure that it's the entire device or the files calibre auto loads to the container the Ade app has acess to. 

                                                     

                                                    "Update: Further testing has revealed that the files being scanned were actually on my ereader, not my HD. I had not used ADE to load the files on to the ereader, and yet the app scanned them, made a list, and uploaded the list to Adobe."

                                                    http://the-digital-reader.com/2014/10/06/adobe-spying-users-collecting-data-ebook-libraries/

                                                     

                                                    without knowing what ereader that writer is using, or what app or apps are in play for reading on it, I don't know if what that means is that there is one directory that both Ade and calibre are supposed to scan and add content to. 

                                                     

                                                    I'm not too surprised that the nook app knows what files are in my books directory, but since it's uploading a list of my reading positions in my sideloaded books it should offer to synch them, if the same titles are on my other devices, too

                                                     

                                                    PS:  font management here seems painful

                                                • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
                                                  keriflur

                                                  So, don't use ADE 4? I'm still on 2.7 with no plans to upgrade, and don't have any issues with processing the files for the books I buy.

                                                   

                                                  B&N-purchased books don't need to pass through ADE, and at least one of the other vendors (I *think* it's Google) lets you download DRM-free books as epub rather than just giving you the acsm file.

                                                    • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
                                                      bobstro

                                                      keriflur wrote:

                                                      So, don't use ADE 4? I'm still on 2.7 with no plans to upgrade, and don't have any issues with processing the files for the books I buy.

                                                      From what I've read, ADE 2.x doesn't do this, although I haven't tested myself. I've been meaning to set up a quarantined test environment to sniff traffic various apps send upstream. This is probably a good incentive to do so.

                                                      keriflur wrote:

                                                      [...] B&N-purchased books don't need to pass through ADE

                                                      True, though B&N has made it more difficult to get them in any format!

                                                      keriflur wrote:

                                                      [...] and at least one of the other vendors (I *think* it's Google) lets you download DRM-free books as epub rather than just giving you the acsm file.

                                                      I'll have to try with a DRM-free title from Google. They do use .acsm files for DRM-encumbered books, as does Kobo. This is yet-another reason I'm a huge fan of O'Reilly Press for all of my tech book purchases. I can download books directly in a variety of formats, and they'll even sync my entire library of purchases to my Dropbox account if I want.

                                                       

                                                      I'm sure a list of vendors selling directly-available ebooks exists. I really need to pay more attention. I'm sure Tor is the same, and I know there are others. I just need to keep that list.

                                                       

                                                      Of course, it sounds like ADE snoops through those files as well.

                                                    • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
                                                      Schwa

                                                      Ah there, erken found the article about Nook analytics.  I didn't read the whole article just now but if I remember correctly Kobo and Kindle admitted to doing this also.

                                                       

                                                      I thhink keriflur said it best "I'm not sure why they'd care, though, in the US, anyway, other than for marketing purposes. I know in a lot of places this kind of thing matters, but here, information gathering is all about making money, not taking names.

                                                      My statement in the first reply to this was basically that.  Marketing analytics don't bother me.  It's the threat of a police state, no matter what form, that would concern me.  And this example is just not an example of that to me.  Not to say that we shouldn't keep an eye on the analytics so they don't cross that line.  But it's not here, IMO.

                                                       

                                                      Edit:  also oops, clicked wrong "reply"  this was to bobstro's question about proof of Nook analytics.

                                                      • Re: Adobe Confirms It’s Gathering Ebook Readers’ Data
                                                        Froide

                                                        Here's the latest from the man who broke the story. (The article and its webpage link to additional articles on the topic.)

                                                         

                                                        Nate Hoffelder.  ( 23 October, 2014). "Adobe Updates Digital Edition, Stops Sharing User Info With the Internet." The Digital Reader.

                                                        Adobe rolled out a new update for their Digital Editions Epub app today, and I have good news, bad news, and okay news.