Adobe Digital Editions (abbreviated ADE) is an ebook reader software program from Adobe Systems, built initially (1.x version) using Adobe Flash. It is used for acquiring, managing, and reading eBooks, digital newspapers, and other digital publications. The software supports PDF, XHTML (through the nonproprietary EPUB file type specification) and Flash-based content. It implements a proprietary scheme of Digital Rights Management ("DRM") which, since the version 1.5 release in May 2008, allows document sharing among multiple devices and user authentication via an Adobe ID. ADE is a successor to Adobe eBook Reader.
Windows and OS X versions of Adobe Digital Editions were released on June 19, 2007. Previous versions of the software required version 9.0 of Adobe Flash Player. Starting with version 2.0, however, which relies on .NET Framework 3.5 on Windows, Flash Player is no longer supported. Adobe initiated development of a Linux version of ADE in 2007; however, this has not had any beta release or any formal updates.
Adobe Digital Editions uses the proprietary ADEPT (Adobe Digital Experience Protection Technology) Digital Rights Management scheme, which is also implemented on some e-book readers, including iPads and many Android devices, but not Kindles. The software locks content to up to six machines and allows the user to view the content on each of them. Barnes & Noble (B&N) ebooks are protected with a variant of ADEPT.
When viewing an ebook, Adobe Digital Editions by default stores the ebook locally as PDF files on Windows machines. These files can be copied and handled like other files, but they cannot be opened except with Adobe Digital Editions. Adobe's website has virtually no information on ADEPT except on its trademark page and a statement that OverDrive is compatible.
On 6 October 2014, Nate Hoffelder reported in The Digital Reader that Adobe Digital Editions version 4 ("ADE4") was sending extensive information about ebooks back to Adobe, including ebooks read by a user as well as ebooks stored on the same machine but not opened in ADE4. This was confirmed by Sean Gallagher, writing in Ars Technica and by others. However, no one else has confirmed the report that books never opened in ADE nor in the ADE library are logged. Hoffelder reported that the information collected included "[which] ebooks that have been opened, which pages were read, and in what order... including the title, publisher, and other metadata for the book". He also reported that all this data was sent in clear text—that is, not protected by any form of encryption. This would make it easy for a third party to read this information. This data was collected for borrowed library books and for books NOT protected by any form of DRM. Hoffelder suggested that such a practice might violate various privacy laws. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) made a similar suggestion.
Adobe responded that their practice was justified by their license agreement and denied collecting data on any book not currently opened for reading. Specifically, they stated:
Gary Price, writing in INFOdocket (an online publication sponsored by Library Journal), views the matter as of serious concern, but sees it as another instance of concerns that have been present but largely unaddressed for years. The article also posts Adobe's response to the issue.
In October 2014, Adobe released version 4.0.1 of the software, which sends data to Adobe in a secure transmission (using HTTPS).
...Like its predecessor the Adobe eBook Reader...