Is Adobe Accessing Your Private Data?

Posted on by Larry

Last week, news broke of a change to Adobe’s Terms and Conditions for all Creative Cloud applications. These Terms can not be bypassed – you either accept them or you can’t use any Creative Cloud apps.

First reported by a security blogger on Tuesday, I read it about last Thursday in this AppleInsider article.

NOTE: You can also read about it here in this FastCompany article

The key points are:

As you can imagine, giving Adobe unlimited permission to do anything they want with your files, media or projects scared a lot of people due to its perceived overwhelming invasiveness.

Another big concern is preventing your creative work from training AI systems without your permission or compensation. This behavior reminds me of the typical Silicon Valley mindset of “break the rules now, ask forgiveness later.” All too often, later never comes.

Lawsuits alleging creative theft are already in progress against ChatGPT, MidJourney, and Stability. And Meta is a privacy-invasion case study all on its own.

As the firestorm continued to grow, Adobe remained silent for three days, then issued the following statement, as reported in AppleInsider.

“Adobe accesses user content for a number of reasons, including the ability to deliver some of our most innovative cloud-based features, such as Photoshop Neural Filters and Remove Background in Adobe Express, as well as to take action against prohibited content,” the company said at the time. “Adobe does not access, view or listen to content that is stored locally on any user’s device.”

While helpful, this didn’t clear up the confusion – especially regarding how to protect projects covered by NDA statements or whether a user’s creative content is training AI.

24 hours later, Adobe released another statement, making the following points:

WHAT I DID

I sent an email to my contacts at Adobe on Thursday night asking:

So far I haven’t had a response. I’ll update this article if I do.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO

Personally, I believe that any projects created and stored locally on your system are not accessible to Adobe. So any projects that you need to keep private MUST be stored locally. This also means that any collaborative projects or libraries must be stored on local servers, not cloud servers.

However, you should also assume that any libraries, files, media or projects stored in the Creative Cloud – or, really, any Cloud service – are not private and will be shared with people you don’t know for purposes that are never revealed. This includes training AI models with your data.

At this point, we are waiting for Adobe to clarify what exactly they are doing with our data and what we can do – if anything – to prevent it.


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39 Responses to Is Adobe Accessing Your Private Data?

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  1. Chris North says:

    Re the update in your Newsletter 17 June,
    Forget Adobe’s explanations – it is what section 4.2 says that counts legally. Certainly I wold not sign up to this.
    …Section 4.2 states that users grant a ‘non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free sublicensable, license, to use, reproduce, publicly display, distribute, modify, create derivative works based on, publicly perform, and translate the Content.’

    • Larry Jordan says:

      Chris;

      You are correct. But Adobe has said they are revising their Terms, the official legal document, by June 18.

      We need to see what those new Terms will be.

      Larry

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