10 Replies Latest reply on Aug 13, 2008 9:27 AM by George_Johnson

    Ping when someone opens an Acrobat document

      Hi.

      I often need to share sensitive documents where I only want the recipient to receive it. It's human nature to forward files though, and people send off my documents to others. Password protection is not good enough as passwords can be forwarded along with the document.

      Is it possible to have a feature where when someone opens a file, I get an email with their IP address and the time of opening?

      Or is there some other kind of copy protection, but not as cumbersome as asking for being tied to a CPU and all that DRM jazz?

      Thanks!
        • 1. Re: Ping when someone opens an Acrobat document
          Patrick Leckey Level 3
          > Or is there some other kind of copy protection, but not as cumbersome as asking for being tied to a CPU and all that DRM jazz?

          Nothing reliable or that would be considered "production" quality. Adobe LiveCycle Rights Management Server is designed to do exactly this, but it involves "all that DRM jazz".

          You could have a document JavaScript transmit the information to a webservice you setup that stores the info in a database (or e-mails it to you), but this would easily be overcome by not being connected to the internet, having JavaScript turned off in the users preferences, etc.
          • 2. Re: Ping when someone opens an Acrobat document
            gkaiseril MVP & Adobe Community Professional
            Some people take privacy and security far more seriously than others.
            And that is why Adobe does not send very much information from Acrobat/Reader without notice to users.
            • 3. Re: Ping when someone opens an Acrobat document
              Level 1
              Geo, you do know that's a load of feel good dribble. Almost every software worth its salt connects online and pings a server. Adobe's are among the worst known for precisely this 'feature'. There is no privacy violation. Paranoid users can prevent this easily with firewalls, many of which are now available for free. (None of my Adobe software connect online...which ALL of them try to, btw).

              Anyway, looks like this is not easily possible without JS. Most users have JS turned off, so it's not really an option. Thanks
              • 4. Re: Ping when someone opens an Acrobat document
                gkaiseril MVP & Adobe Community Professional
                Adobe closed this because spamers started sending PDF that set out the IP or other data.

                And as a Vet I do not feel good that my SSN was compromised by the U.S. Government or its contractors.
                • 5. Re: Ping when someone opens an Acrobat document
                  Patrick Leckey Level 3
                  > which ALL of them try to, btw

                  Well, yes and no. They all prompt you for registration / activation, which requires a net connection.

                  As for trying to ping every time the application opens, it is actually Flash Player (and you're right that it is not a privacy violation) that is doing that, since flash is used for the Welcome / Getting Started screen. Check the box that says "Do not show at startup" (usually top right corner) and the application will no longer try to connect to anything each time it opens.

                  > Anyway, looks like this is not easily possible without JS

                  Its not possible with JS either - at least not reliably secure.

                  Maybe I'm not understanding what you're getting at (and I'm not trying to be picky here, just trying to understand your request so that I can help think of any possible alternatives) ... but you're complaining that Adobe apps try to ping Adobe when they are used, but you want a document-level option that doesn't require scripting that will let you make a document force Acrobat to do exactly that to your servers without having to use a DRM solution?

                  > Most users have JS turned off

                  I assume you mean in your environment, since this is definitely not true on a global scale.
                  • 6. Re: Ping when someone opens an Acrobat document
                    Level 1
                    PDL.

                    Thanks for the note.

                    Yes, I want to do precisely what Adobe does with its servers. To ping my server and leave some info there. Just as a reader has privacy rights, so does a document author. I am not against Adobe what it deems necessary, my point was merely meant against the moral high ground introduced by the poster before me. If users wish to NOT connect to my server, sure, they can set their firewall accordingly.

                    I would like to use whatever is possible. No DRM stuff. If we have complex stuff to identity a person's CPU and all that, our documents in our space will never be read more than once.

                    Isn't "JS in Adobe" disabled by default?

                    PK
                    • 7. Re: Ping when someone opens an Acrobat document
                      Patrick Leckey Level 3
                      > Isn't "JS in Adobe" disabled by default?

                      No, since Acrobat and Reader 6.x at least (I didn't work with versions before that so I can't comment) JavaScript is enabled by default in the viewers.
                      • 8. Re: Ping when someone opens an Acrobat document
                        Level 1
                        Thanks, it's good to know JS is enabled by default.

                        Now how would I start writing a script that would connect to a PHP program on my server and leave the details necessary? I'd appreciate any pointer or starting place.

                        Thanks!
                        • 9. Re: Ping when someone opens an Acrobat document
                          Patrick Leckey Level 3
                          Check out the SOAP object in the JavaScript API reference. There are a couple examples that demonstrate basic SOAP connections from Acrobat JavaScript.
                          • 10. Re: Ping when someone opens an Acrobat document
                            George_Johnson MVP & Adobe Community Professional
                            FWIW, you don't need to use JavaScript. You can use a Submit Form action in a Page Open event, for example. But certain warnings may appear to the user and it won't work of not connected to the internet. Also, you do not have access to the IP address with JavaScript, but you may be able to get it from your web server logs and any form submission processing code should have access to it.

                            Regarding what to do server side, I won't tell you what info to record or how to record it (mostly because it's beyond the scope of Acrobat scripting), but the server response should be a "204 - No content" type of response.

                            George