Last month, I posted some information about privacy issues related to Adobe Digital Editions, version 4.0. The quick summary is that the ADE 4.0 reader app was:

  • Reporting a lot of reader behavior back to Adobe (what you were reading, when, what page you were on)
  • Reporting metadata for all ADE-encrypted e-books found on your system
  • In some circumstances, reporting metadata for other books on e-reader devices attached to your computer
  • Doing all of this unencrypted, making it easy for Bad Guys, Government Agencies, Sys Admins, and just about anyone else to eavesdrop on the communication

This had the potential to affect any ZSR users who downloaded EBL e-books to their Windows or Mac desktops and read them in the ADE app.

Adobe has now released ADE 4.01, which makes important improvements. First, and most important, the communication back to Adobe is now encrypted. Second, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has confirmed that ADE is no longer reporting metadata of books it finds on your system. It now appears that ADE only reports the first time you open an ADE-encrypted e-book.

We should note that encrypting the communication now makes it much more difficult to see what it contains. Adobe could backslide on privacy issues and users will be unlikely to see the difference.

The important takeaway: the few people in ZSR who use ADE should upgrade to version 4.01 at their earliest opportunity.