I have no problem whatsoever with Adobe incorporating anti-counterfeiting technology into Photoshop: the downside for consumers is negligible and the upside that the currencies of the world aren’t flooded with perfect digital reproductions is pretty powerful. BUT, why didn’t Adobe just tell its customers about it in the first place? They had to know it was going to come up at some point:
- Adobe Systems Inc. acknowledged Friday it quietly added technology to the world’s best-known graphics software at the request of government regulators and international bankers to prevent consumers from making copies of the world’s major currencies.
….Adobe, the world’s leading vendor for graphics software, said the secretive technology “would have minimal impact on honest customers.” It generates a warning message when someone tries to make digital copies of some currencies.
The U.S. Federal Reserve (news – web sites) and other organizations that worked on the technology said they could not disclose how it works and would not name which other software companies include it in their products. They cited concerns that counterfeiters would try to defeat it.
“We sort of knew this would come out eventually,” Adobe spokesman Russell Brady said. “We can’t really talk about the technology itself.”
….Adobe revealed it added the technology after a customer complained in an online support forum about mysterious behavior by the new $649 “Photoshop CS” software when opening an image of a U.S. $20 bill.
Kevin Connor, Adobe’s product management director, said the company did not disclose the technology at the request of international bankers. He said Adobe may add the detection mechanism to its other products.
“The average consumer is never going to encounter this in their daily use,” Connor said. “It just didn’t seem like something meaningful to communicate.”
Angry customers have flooded Adobe’s Internet message boards with complaints about censorship and concerns over future restrictions on other types of images, such as copyrighted or adult material.
….The technology was designed recently by the Central Bank Counterfeit Deterrence Group, a consortium of 27 central banks in the United States, England, Japan, Canada and across the European Union, where there already is a formal proposal to require all software companies to include similar anti-counterfeit technology.
….Some policy experts were divided on the technology. Bruce Schneier, an expert on security and privacy, praised the anti-counterfeit technology.
Another security expert, Gene Spafford of Purdue University, said Adobe should have notified its customers prominently. He wondered how closely Adobe was permitted to study the technology’s inner-workings to ensure it was stable and performed as advertised.
“If I were the paranoid-conspiracy type, I would speculate that since it’s not Adobe’s software, what else is it doing?” Spafford said. [AP]
Again, they had to know it was going to come out eventaully, so they should have told consumers from the beginning, to whom they owe more loyalty than “international bankers,” who were getting the main thing they wanted out of Adobe already.