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John Nack updates Adobe controversy


Adobe Photoshop product manager & corp-blogger John Nack has posted a followup on the issue of Adobe applications that 'phone home' to a quirky domain name; the official Adobe technote is here. In case you missed it, the commotion arose out of an Uneasy Silence post on 12/26. Dan initially thought that Little Snitch was catching CS3's welcome screen in the act of pinging to his local network, but then a bit of due diligence showed that '' was not, in fact, an IP address but rather a domain name owned by Omniture and used for usage tracking (including by the iTunes ministore). Suspicions about the domain go back quite a while, so it's no surprise that frustrated users would raise a stink with Adobe when the tracking connections were discovered; more so in this case because the domain name is plainly constructed to appear, on casual examination, as a private IP address (fooling humans, but not firewalls).

Nack's post, one of several on the topic, indicates that pretty much any content retrieved from the site (including the Flash file embedded into the CS3 welcome screens) pings back to Omniture's servers for anonymous usage tracking. OK, forewarned is forearmed -- but why the 192.168 goofy domain? Nack's trying to help:

.: Why does Adobe use a server whose name is so suspicious-looking?
.: I'm afraid the answer is that we don't really know. The fact is that this SWF tracking code already existed on the Macromedia side at the time the companies merged, and it was adopted without change by a number of products for CS3. The people who wrote the code originally did not document why they used that server name, and we can't find anyone who remembers. I'm sorry we aren't able to provide a more solid, definitive explanation.

Forthrightness appreciated, but what we're left with is the same explanation we had at the beginning (which is the only reasonable one, as far as I can see): the domain name was designed to fool users into thinking the app is accessing the local LAN when it phones home. Omniture has been using since 2000, with varying degrees of public outcry; in this case, at least, the response of customers is encouraging Adobe to stop using the deceptive domain name in future products.

[via Daring Fireball]

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