Ebrary: Downloading and Privacy Concerns

Possible Privacy Concerns with Adobe Digital Editions 4

Library organizations have expressed privacy concerns regarding unencrypted data transmitted when using the most recent edition of Adobe Digital Editions (released in September).  In particular, ADE version 4 sends unencrypted information to Adobe such as your Adobe ID, an ID for your device (computer), and possibly the title you are reading (and other DRM-encrypted book titles on your computer). 

Three CSU Stanislaus Library ebook collections -  Ebrary, EBSCO EBooks, and the CSU EBL collection -  include the option of downloading a full book to a personal computer using the problematic software (Adobe Digital Editions 4).

The Library has suspended full ebook downloading from our major ebook platform, Ebrary, until this problem is addressed. Almost all typical Library methods of accessing Ebrary titles, including reading books online and saving PDF files, do not involve the problematic software and remain available.  Adobe expects an update to fix this problem by the week of October 20.


 Library Ebook Collections Using Adobe Digital Editions 4

Adobe Digital Editions 4 is used in the following library ebook collections:

Downloading full Ebrary, EBSCO eBook, or EBL books to a Windows or Macintosh computer

Other uses of these collections appear to use appropriate encryption.

No encryption concerns have been identified for:

  • Viewing Library ebooks outside of the Ebrary, EBL or EBSCO ebook collections
  • Viewing Ebrary, EBSCO or EBL books online (in the web browser)
  • Saving/printing PDF files of chapters
  • Downloading titles to iOS or Android devices (e.g. using the Bluefire reader)
  • Downloading titles to a computer using Adobe Digital Editions 2 or 3 (e.g., any ADE software installed before September 2014)

Note:  It appears only a minimal number (15) of downloads using the CSU Stanislaus accounts were made since the problematic software was released in early September.  (In addition, some or most of these downloads may have included appropriate privacy protection, as downloads using the older editions of Adobe and the Bluefire App still use proper encryption.)


Note:  For local residents who use the Stanislaus or San Joaquin County Libraries, similar concerns have been expressed regarding public library ebooks from  Overdrive and 3M Cloud Library.