7 Replies Latest reply on Nov 17, 2013 11:16 PM by Michael2626

    I wish to make a complaint re Latest Flash Player Update

    Michael2626

      The latest Flash Player update installed Chrome on my PC without asking if I wanted it and without my consent.  This is illegal in Australia and likely other countries too (eg USA).

        • 1. Re: I wish to make a complaint re Latest Flash Player Update
          Mike M Level 6

          Please cite the statute you believe it to be in violation of.

           

          Per the License agreement (which you agreed to when installing it originally - or the installer would have terminated prematurely):

          “Software” means (a) all of the contents of the files (delivered electronically or on physical media), or disk(s) or other media with which this agreement is provided, which may include Adobe or third party computer information or software, including Adobe Reader® (“Adobe Reader”), Adobe AIR® (“Adobe AIR”), and Adobe Flash® Player (collectively, Adobe AIR and Flash Player are the “Adobe Runtimes”); (ii) related explanatory written materials or files (“Documentation”); and (iii) fonts; and (b) upgrades, modified versions, updates, additions, and copies of the foregoing, provided to you by Adobe at any time (collectively, “Updates”).

          • 2. Re: I wish to make a complaint re Latest Flash Player Update
            Michael2626 Level 1

            Hi

             

            I am not a lawyer and I am sure that Adobe has enough lawyers to look this up themselves, but I can say that installing of software without consent on someone's computer is illegal (one of the activities commonly referred to as "hacking").  Otherwise I could just install my own software on Adobe's computer systems and there would be nothing you could do.  I am sure that if I were to do that then Adobe would likely want to sue me or have me sent to jail.

             

            Therefore I would expect equal consideration from Adobe when dealing with my own PC.

             

            If you seriously have to rely on the EULA to justify installing any software without the end user's knowledge then although perhaps defendable at law it is morally and ethically indefensible.  If you are in the software business you and Adobe should know that extremely few end users read the EULA and that is why when installation or upgrade actions are taken on software and a third party product is offered it is done so explicitly in the installation process and explicit consent is obtained - simple, common courtesy.

             

            If you want to be technical and legal, Adobe is still at fault because of the wording:

             

            which may include Adobe or third party computer information or software

             

            with the emphasis on the OR.  You provided both, not one or the other.

             

            My complaint holds, regardless of legality I believe that Adobe has done the wrong thing by installing Google Chrome on my PC without my explicit consent.

             

            As a matter of principle, today Adobe might be installing Google Chrome, tomorrow it might be Spyware or worse.  For all I know Adobe may have already installed spyware on my PC.  Adobe has broken my trust.  Adobe does provide good software so please do something to regain my trust.

             

            Regards,

            Michael.

            • 3. Re: I wish to make a complaint re Latest Flash Player Update
              Mike M Level 6

              Michael,

              I, personally, don't provide the updates or third party software. You've got a good reason to complain, but no basis for a legal cause of action.

              I'm not in Australia, and I'm not a lawyer either, but according to training I've had from another major software company (Intuit) on this very subject, here's where your entire argument falls apart.

               

              While "hacking" (the practice of circumventing system security to access a system without authorization or consent of the owner) IS illegal, when you click "Update", YOU are installing whatever downloads which you agreed to in the EULA. In ANY jursidiction on earth that's considered "consent".  If the update ran "silently" in the background with absolutely no indication that any of it was occurring, at all... THEN you might have a legitimate claim, but you and I both know that isn't the case, and you won't convince an attorney, judge or jury anywhere that it was or is, let alone prove it was or is.

               

              I've personally seen the update that installs McAfee with no "opt out". I made screenshots, compiled a report including them, and it was submitted to Adobe by someone with plenty more pull than I have, so it's not like I'm saying it doesn't happen, or defending the practice, because like you, I don't want anything I didn't install on my systems. I've done extensive Anti-Virus testing and I know what having two A/V apps competing can do. I use AVG and McAfee screws with it something awful If I'd allow it to remain installed. Even during the "test" where it installed, I removed McAfee immediately after the update.

               

              Point is: This is an industry wide practice. Oracle systems (Java), Roxio, Google, VLC, even Microsoft try to push "bundled" software with their downloads and updates. I have five windows systems and I can't update ANY of them without the folks in Redmond trying to install "Bing Toolbar" and "Bing Desktop", which ALSO sets IE as my default browser, MSN as my homepage and Bing as my default search engine... no matter how many times I've hidden the installer in Windows Update. It just keeps coming back, like a bad cold sore.

               

              You DO NOT HAVE TO "auto-update" ANY Adobe software. That "option" is yours and yours alone to choose when you first install: Reader, Flash Player, or a Creative Suite... or ANY other app, and later in the preferences for any of them.


              Bookmark the following links for future reference:

              Flash Player for ActiveX (Internet Explorer) - (self descriptive)

              Flash Player Plug-in (All other browsers) - (self descriptive)

              http://get.adobe.com/reader/enterprise/ - Adobe Reader FULL Installers (nothing bundled)

              http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/download/alternates/#sp - Shockwave FULL Installers (nothing bundled for auto install)

               

              Shockwave doesn't have update settings but it doesn't auto-update.

              Flash Player updates can be disabled in the Global Settings (Control Panel>System and Security>Flash Player (32bit))
              Reader updates can be disabled in the Reader Preferences (Edit>Preferences>Updater)

               

              I personally don't have ANY SOFTWARE set to automatically update, and that's from ANY software developer.

               

              While you're 100% within your rights to be concerned about malware, Adobe isn't, and never has been, in the business of distributing malware. I've used, tested and earned plenty of money with Adobe products since 1998. I've collaborated with development people while employed at Intuit, and have even met some employees at industry conventions (WWDC 2004 & 2005). This isn't a "fly by night" outfit. They've been around too long to resort to anything illegal.

               

              Hope that didn't come out the wrong way.

               

              Mike M

              • 4. Re: I wish to make a complaint re Latest Flash Player Update
                Michael2626 Level 1

                Hi Mike,

                 

                First, you agree that the update installed Chrome without notifying me or explicitly asking for consent to install Chrome.  You also acknowledge that such behaviour is undesirable and that I have cause for complaint, yet you have not addressed my complaint, nor the corresponding loss of trust in Adobe for this behaviour.

                 

                I am sure you well know that not upgrading is generally not an option as eventually you will fall behind so far that the software will no longer function. eg the Flash Player version I have will not play any content written for newer versions.  To suggest that one simply avoid upgrading is disingenuous.

                 

                The problem is that I DIDN'T agree to the installation of Google Chrome.  I only wanted an update of Adobe Flash Player and that is what I signed up to.  The fact that Adobe is relying on an obscure point in a EULA to justify its action speaks volumes of Adobe's lack of respect for its customers.

                 

                Interestingly I get a lot of hits when Googling this particular issue (and Google even auto-completed my search criteria).  There are obviously a LOT of other people who are very unhappy with this.  Here is the complaint from the first page of hits from my search:

                 

                http://forums.adobe.com/message/4692105

                 

                "Has anyone noticed that the latest Flash update automatically installs Google Toolbar and Google Chrome? What a horrible business decision Adobe. Force installing software like you are Napster. I would fire the product manager that made that decision. As a CTO I will be informing my IT staff to set Flash to ignore updates from this point forward. QA staff cannot have additional items installed that are not part of the base browser installation. Ridiculous that Adobe snuck this crap in. All I can hope now is to find something that challenges Photoshop so I can move my design team away from Adobe software as well. Smart move trying to make pennies off of your high dollar customers. "

                • 5. Re: I wish to make a complaint re Latest Flash Player Update
                  Erics

                  My update tried to install McAfee.  When installing flashplayer for the first time, I made sure i did not install this Mc Afee [deleted by moderator].  Now adobe is trying to quietly sneak it on to my system again with this update.   Well [profanity deleted by moderator] Adobe and your shenanigans!  I'm uninstalling flash alltogheter. How's that for a solution!

                  • 6. Re: I wish to make a complaint re Latest Flash Player Update
                    Mike M Level 6

                    Michael,

                     

                    First, the update I witnessed installed McAfee Security Scan, NOT Google toolbar. But you're absolutely right. Installing it with no "opt out" is far less than what I would call a "good practice". That's the reason I DO update all my software, but I do it "manually". I never suggested "not upgrading" or not updating, but rather recommended what I do myself. I have always had a serious problem with people who tell me to do something they would never consider doing, so I don't make a habit of it myself. Yesterday alone I updated AIR and Flash Player on four systems... manually.


                    I doubt I'll be able to restore your trust in Adobe. ONLY YOU can do that.  As to your complaint, you originally indicated that said behavior was "illegal" and I believe I did a pretty darn good job of explaining why it isn't, because you click the "update" button, regardless of the reason, and your doing so (again, regardless of the reason) implies (if not proves), consent on your part. That's a legal point, even though it doesn't address trust or ethics at all.


                    When I was at Intuit, we reviewed two separate lawsuits during training on EULA compliance, one was a "Class action" filed by a state Attorney General, alleging that Intuit had installed what amounted to a "rootkit" (Google C-Dilla for more info) on potentially millions of systems without user consent, for the implementation of "anti-piracy" software in TurboTax in 2002. I went to work there in 2003 and I personally issued more than 300 replacement CD-Rs (along with apology letters) that didn't have the C-Dilla on them.


                    While the court ruled that the software itself caused many problems for the people who were involved in the suit, and that Intuit was liable for damages related to the repair or replacement of affected systems, the ruling magistrate was VERY CLEAR in pointing out that in installing the original software, and "accepting the end user licesne agreement", whether they actually read the whole thing (or any of it at all) beforehand, indicated their consent to install any and all software associated with such agreement. Therefore, the liability was severely limited, and NO puntiive damages could be applied. Several hundred people got free repairs and a few even got new computers, but Intuit made the decision not to use C-Dilla afterward; it was never ordered by the court.

                     

                    TurboTax is paid software, and Flash Player is free, and C-Dilla was proven to be far more destructive than McAfee, Norton or Google bundled software (it rendered many systems useless), but the principle established by the court was that no one is forced to use TurboTax, and therefore not all of the liability could fall on the developer. Similarly, no one is forced to use Flash Player, or Adobe Reader. That hardly justifies installing third party apps in an update, with no opt out, but it still requires a user initiation to install a "bundled" update, and there ARE options to avoid the bundled software, which are posted in these forums DOZENS of times daily.

                     

                    As I pointed out, I know of at least one detailed report that was submitted regarding this. It was my intention in reporting it, that someone would make changes that allow users to opt out of unwanted installs when all they're trying to do is update software they see as necessary to get full use and/or enjoyment out of their personal or work computer. Obviously that hasn't happened. I'm not endorsing the practice, or making excuses for it. I already made my position clear on "unwanted" software.

                     

                    However, I also pointed out that the practice of "bundling software" is industry wide and it ISN'T going to end anytime in the foreseeable future, hence the links I provided and the advice to manually update. Believe me, I fully understand your frustration and I'm on your side. I have to be realistic, though. I have systems with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1. One of the Win 8 systems is my laptop I use when meeting with clients. I can't afford it to be down because of an anti-virus conflict, and I refuse to use Google Chrome on it because of the massive resource consumption of Google's excuse for a browser. But I've had to make changes in the way I do things to avoid it, because I'm not going to force a company the size of Adobe to change (as my unheeded report has proven).

                     

                    I'm a freelance web designer, not an employee here. Thanks to the U.S. economy, I have a lot of time to help people out here, so I do. I'm an end user like you, only I have several years of software development and troubleshooting experience. I don't particularly enjoy answering the "why did they install (insert bundled software name here) on my system?" questions. Usually there's no convincing the original poster and subsequent posters that there IS a way around it. Most of them want their computers and ALL software companies to do everything for them, and do it without ever inconveniencing them with knowing it was done, and THEN they complain when something IS installed without their explicit approval. That's a hard case to argue.

                     

                    Maybe (I'm not holding my breath) enough complaints like yours will eventually persuade Adobe to NOT install bundled apps with updates, and no way to say no to it. Meantime, I do things the long way because I have to, to keep my systems running like I want them

                    • 7. Re: I wish to make a complaint re Latest Flash Player Update
                      Michael2626 Level 1

                      Hi Mike,

                      Not sure if you were aware, but I DID install the Flash update manually - I always do so for the same reasons as you. Even installing it manually there was no warning it would install Chrome and no opt out. All I saw was a download progress bar for downloading Chrome which is why I check for the appearance of Chrome after the update finished and knew it was the Flash update that installed it.

                       

                      ONLY ADOBE can restore my trust in Adobe, and as they don't seem to be willing to post in their own forums to reassure me then I think that is a lost cause. I still think the legalities are borderline because no-where was there any indication that the flash update would install software other than flash. The EULA included a definition of software that indicate I am LICENSED to use Flash and such other software but NOT that third party software unrelated to the core product would be installed. Disgusting and still in my mind on a knife edge of legality. Please remember that EULAs are not all the same so comparing Adobe's EULA with Intuit's or anyone elses is a waste of time unless you are providing a side by side detailed analysis of both documents.

                       

                      What are the options to avoide installation of a bundled update - was it possible for me to somehow hack the Flash update in-flight to remove the Google Chrome installation? If so then I would love to hear how that is done. There was NO user initiation required to install Google Chrome in the Flash Update other than initiating the Flash Update itself at which point there was NO indication that anything other that Flash Player would be updated.

                       

                      I am thoroughly disgusted with Adobe. Not only for blatantly installing third party apps without advising me, giving me a choice, or in my opinion (and thats what counts as an end-user) obtaining my consent, but ALSO for giving me a so-called Adobe support option to contact experts for assistance or to make a complaint which is not even considered by Adobe but just posted on their (apparently) un-monitored forums*. Even if I had read the EULA in detail before (and who does, because you have no choice if you want/need the application or its update), then I would have read the definition of software as meaning that the Adobe products may use third party components that would have to be installed to make them work, not that Adobe would forcibly install third party products completely unrelated to those you were updating.

                      • What do I have to do to get attention from an Adobe employee to get my complaint heard?  [ just post - admin ]

                       

                      Regardless of legalities as I have said several times, I have a legitimate, serious complaint and Adobe is ignoring it. [profanity removed by admin[ If their customers all walked and their business folded then it would serve them right!