ALA welcomes Adobe action; greater attention to reader privacy concerns

For Immediate Release
Mon, 10/27/2014


Jazzy Wright

Press Officer

Washington Office


Today, Carolyn Anthony and Erika Linke, co-chairs of the American Library Association (ALA) Digital Content Working Group (DCWG), released the following statement regarding the Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) software update:

"Librarians have long been guardians of and advocates for reader privacy. The plain text transmission of reader data by Adobe Digital Editions over the internet was clearly a privacy violation for all users of the ADE 4.0 version software and demanded swift corrective action.

"ALA appreciates Adobe’s acknowledgement of the error and confirmation that a software update (4.0.1) to send data via secure transmission using HTTPS was made available on Friday, October 24, 2014. According to Adobe, users received an update notification via the auto-update mechanism built into the product, and the latest version of the product also can be downloaded. Adobe has added a dedicated page to its privacy policy regarding its collection and use of data. Finally, Adobe also stated that while certain usage data was transmitted in clear text, it did not transmit or store the actual user ID or device ID in clear text.

"Beyond data transmission, ALA continues to be concerned about the amount of data collected and retained by all vendors within the e-book ecosystem. Transparency to users is one important step, but we all must work to help ensure that only data necessary for user functionality are collected, are properly protected, are not sold for profit or used for other secondary purposes, and are deleted as soon as possible.

"Working with ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee and others, the DCWG will continue to investigate these issues, advocate with publishers and distributors, establish best practices to protect reader privacy, and secure the best possible licensing terms for libraries and our readers. We’re pleased that Adobe promised a continuing dialogue with ALA."

The DCWG is an ALA-wide group of experts, broadly representative of constituencies across the library community, that is charged with proactively addressing digital content opportunities and issues at the highest level and from both a policy and practical perspective.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 55,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.