by Mike Masnick
Fri, Dec 28th 2007 9:42am
It's not all that surprising these days to hear about software companies having their software "phone home" in some manner or another, though it's often quite annoying. However, it looks like Adobe has taken this to a new level. As highlighted by Valleywag, Adobe's CS3 design software includes a system to provide your usage data quietly to a "behavioral analytics" firm named Omniture. Of course, it does this without ever asking you if you want some random company knowing every time you use this piece of software. While it may not be doing anything nefarious, this certainly has all the hallmarks of spyware, including the fact that it tries to (weakly) disguise the connection to Omniture by making it look like it's simply pinging your local network. It's really amazing that companies keep doing this type of thing thinking that people won't catch on. There may be plenty of legitimate reasons for tracking the usage of a piece of software -- but if so, why not be upfront about it and let the user of the software opt-in to sharing his or her data? Yet another reason to use a firewall that catches these sorts of sneaky outbound connections. Update: John Dowdell, an Adobe employee (and long time Techdirt reader) has replied in the comments, noting that he's talking to folks at Adobe to find out the whole story, but he thinks it's the "live update" function. I'm not sure I understand why a live update function would call an analytics firm -- or why the ping to that analytics firm should be disguised as a local network ping, but that's the story coming out of Adobe right now. Will update again if any more details become clear. Update 2: Further response from Adobe here. It explains what the connection does and also admits that the company should have done a better job making it clear.
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