Possible Data Protection issue with Adobe Digital Editions v4

warning_imagescad61b08It has recently come to our attention that the software used to access some of the Library’s ebook collections, Adobe Digital Editions, may be logging data on the books used with this application, and any other ebooks that have already been downloaded on the devices of library users. The reports we have heard state that this information is being uploaded in plain text to Adobe servers, and is being sent without any encryption, meaning that book logging data is potentially open to interception by anyone with a moderate level of technical skill. Note that this data protection breach seems to be limited to Digital Editions v4, the most recent version of the software. As far as can be detected, Digital Editions 2 and 3 are unaffected.

Newsam Library and Archive Services provides access to thousands of ebooks. All can be read online.  However, due to DRM (digital rights management) restrictions in place with some of our ebooks, if a user chooses to download a book to a device for offline reading, they must use Adobe Digital Editions. This is a condition of purchase that has been unavoidable for all libraries providing ebook content.

The ebook provider used by IOE Library which makes use of Adobe Digital Editions when reading a downloaded copy is:

EBL Ebook Library

We have contacted EBL and they state that they are aware of the issue with Adobe Digital Editions, have raised it with Adobe and will provide guidance in due course.   EBL ebooks can be read on tablets and smart phones using the free app Bluefire Reader which does not have these data protection problems.

On creating an account with Adobe you may be asked whether you wish to allow information about your ebooks to be sent to Adobe.  We recommend that you say no to this option.

If you are concerned that your right to privacy has been violated, we recommend that you uninstall Adobe Digital Editions v4 from all of your devices immediately. You can still read ebook content online, or you can follow up with the Library Enquiry Desk about options for print alternatives.

The Library values our users’ right to privacy, and we have expressed concern and alarm to our ebook supplier, and asked them to advocate on our behalf. The Library has passed this information on to the Data Protection Officers at IOE who will decide what further action, if any, should be taken.  We will keep you informed about this issue as we receive updates.



Text adapted from Ryerson University Library & Archives blog post with thanks.  

About Nazlin Bhimani

Research Support and Special Collections Librarian, UCL Institute of Education, London
This entry was posted in Library and Archives and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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