Adobe Reader Update Requests Gmail Permissions, Users Revolt


Adobe recently updated their Reader application for Android with support for more Android devices, including those with 3.0 Honeycomb. In order to open PDF email attachments, “Read Gmail” and “Read Email Attachments” permissions are requested. As might be expected, this got quite a few users worried about their privacy, and those worried users made their frustrations known through a bombardment of one-star reviews for the app.

As one user wrote, “you don’t need to see my email.” That is a perfectly acceptable, but the fact is even if Adobe is trying to violate the privacy of their users (which seems really farfetched), Reader holds no permissions to do anything with your emails after it reads them. The app doesn’t request permission to access the internet or to broadcast your data in any other way such as SMS. While user privacy is a big issue with recent location tracking scares and what not, the whole situation seems a bit overblown.

Adobe has yet to respond to the angry mob asking for the head of Reader on a silver platter. Our gut feeling is your safe to download and use the app as always without fear.

[via Android Market | Thanks, Jason!]

Kevin Krause
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  1. lol, I downloaded it whithoiuth even consedring ht eimplications of the new permissions.
    For some reason I just trust huge international companies with my informations. Its the small ones I fear being outright scammers.

    Maybe its because my emails are not that important or that IF something goes wrong I can rest assured some class-action law suit will be filed before I can say “wooptiedoo”….sure by then the damage has been done, but then again, the only company that has any knowledge of my financial activities is my bank.

    but back-on-topic: I think withouth internet/sms permissions it can’t do that much harm on itself with that info. Worst case scenario….it allows other malicious apps to acces that data and those would broadcast it…but so far my phone seems malicious free.

    1. I used to be fairly trusting of larger corporations too, but after seeing Sony’s ongoing debacle with lost user information, e-mail addresses, passwords, credit card info, and so on I’m not so quick to take it for granted any more.

    2. Be wary of trusting apps that want too much permission. Consider their motives. Always trust apps from the government — they’re always on your side.

  2. The better the technology, the more ignorant folks are to it.

  3. You’re. Not your

    1. Your never going to get people to right correctly despite you’re best efforts. Two many people managed too graduate high school without to much writing skillz. Their going to get they’re point across despite there writing errors.

      1. Ha! I see what you did there. :)

        1. Their. Not there. :-)

        2. I should hope so.

  4. People are just crazy some times. They do not care that you have a mistress or that you haven’t seen your cousin in years. If they got caught the results would hurt the company image far to much. Adobe is one of the few companies that are actually fairly honest.

    They released a product that will let you read your emails, ofcourse it needs access to the emails if its to do that. You don’t want that service, don’t install it, but jeez..stop whining.

  5. I personally dont really give a hoot. I’ve never even opened adobe on my phone (and don’t plan to) and i don’t really use my gmail account for anything

    1. So you’ve basically added nothing of value to the discussion thread. (neither have I :p)

    2. then why buy an android phone? =/

  6. This is a perfect example of it working, surely? If you’re not happy with what they’re asking for, you know exactly what it is and you can say no. Perfect. You can’t critisise companies for asking when you’re totally educated and free to say no.

  7. Must be the same people that opened Barack’s birth certificate in Illustrator, saw layers, and immediately claimed it was fake. The same people that get in an uproar each time a chain of “Facebook’s going to charge money” posts come around. The same people that see Google’s location services as “tracking where they are”.

    They sure think it, but they’re just not that special.

    I don’t know when the internet and anonymity gave people the idea that they’re experts at everything, but they sure do waste a lot of their own’ and other people’s time with their versions of “getting to the root of things”. On the plus side, I guess hostility toward such things is probably a good thing; even if they are wrong 99% of the time—it’s the thought that counts.

  8. It seems the purpose of adding Flash was so that web pages would load slower, be more heavily laden with ads, and be much more difficult to touch-drag-scroll. Now Flash want’s my Gmail?

    Steve Jobs was right about Flash. Good riddance.

    1. Are you an idiot? My guess is yes.

      Adobe READER not Adobe Flash. Maybe you should learn to become a reader of this article. It is a PDF reader. PDF reader wanting to access your e-mail to easily open PDF attachments. What is the big deal?

      As far as Flash goes, just put it on demand and it is exactly the same as without flash, you just have the option to use it when you want.

      1. You are correct. I totally missed the word “Reader”. :-) Sorry.

        I have been considering doing exactly as you say to only use Flash when I want it.

  9. But do they really need the “Read Gmail” permission? For example, the built-in QuickOffice in my N1 can show previews of attached pdfs from Gmail just fine and it only requests the “Read Email attachments” permission.

    1. Yeah I do agree with this. Unless they add the functionality to save e-mails as PDFs, I don’t see why they need that permission. Hopefully they add that feature.

  10. If you take the time to read the changes on the actual Android market rather than responding to a few words in an article, you can see quite plainly that it says,
    “Recently changed in this version – Permission to read Gmail and default Email client – Enables users to open Gmail and default Email client PDF attachments using Adobe Reader only when users select the application to view PDF files. This permission is required because of a known limitation in the Android platform.”
    I can only come to a few conclusions regarding the people who are freaking out about this.
    1) They are too lazy or stupid to actually read the ENTIRE description. Instead, they put the spaz-nozzle on full after seeing “Permission to read Gmail…”
    2) They are the same type of people who say things like “Google shares data with the NSA and the NSA listens to all of our phone calls.” – then go on to post everything they think or talk about on Facebook and Twitter. (Trust me, if the NSA wants something Google has, they’ll damn well get it whether Google wants to share or not – and more than likely without Google ever even knowing.)
    3) The majority of the population needs ADD medication of some sort. After reading some of the comments, it is readily apparent that a majority of the folks commenting in the market didn’t get past the “Permission to read Gmail…”. That is all they’ve read and went straight to the comments. I see it on the Android Market, in here, and pretty much everywhere – very few people these days actually read the ENTIRE STORY. Instead, they read the first few words or lines, and react to the first thing that upsets them rather than actually taking a few moments to get the whole picture.
    4) They spend more time complaining about it than taking the 20 or so seconds required to uninstall it.
    5) They probably wear aluminum foil on their heads as well.

    1. Agree 100%. Most folks would do better with two cans and a string and have no business using a smartphone.

  11. People are too paranoid about this shit.

  12. Fact of the matter is that I can open pictures, documents and other files from gmail without those apps needing gmail access auth.

    So users have every right to be upset as reader obviously DOES NOT need this permission to open pdf documents.

    1. Thats because files downloaded via gmail or on the sdcard. For a device to be an email reader, you need access to gmail. Attachments and emails are different. If software could do all these things with out the permissions, their would be no point to the permissions. And all software needs access to certain parts of the device depending on what the device can do, Adobe did not just wake up and decide to add unneeded permission requests.

  13. “Our gut feeling is your safe to download and use the app as always without fear.” ?

    HELL NO. Are you nuts?

    Those disclaimers are there for a reason and should be explained. Maybe it can be found in the comments or something, but if you see a warning and you don’t like it, you absolutely should not click install.

    1. That tin foil hat looks good on ya.

      1. not everyone is as ignorant as you, buddy. while there is no “conspiracy”, the purpose of android telling you what the app requests is so you can decide whether or not to install the app.. Plenty of people such as yourself @Len, are retarded, and just click “hurr” and install things. You know, the kind of people who should not have access to tech.

        That isn’t “tinfoil hat” land, it’s common sense, something apparently you don’t like.

        1. Still. the tin foil hat looks good on you,

  14. Adobe has some real issues though. They keep ‘stealthing’ crap into their downloads. A few months ago Adobe brought my computer down by installing mcafee A/V during an upgrade. They did not ask if I wanted it, nor did they check to see if I was already running an A/V program, which I was. Brought my computer to its knees on reboot. took about 3 hours to clear up that stupidity.

  15. Here is how this works. You get the Reader app, and it reads your e-mail. It then writes your sensitive data to sdcard (which it has permissions for).


    another app (Flash?) that has internet access picks up the data from SDCARD and sends to the perpetrators.

    Not so far fetched, is it?

  16. Maybe I’ve misunderstood something, but I can already open and view pdf files with adobe reader from the gmail app. So what extra functions are permitted with these permissions? :s

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