What’s the story:
In response to executive order 13884 from the US, Adobe has emailed all their users based in Venezuela to inform them that they can no longer use their services as of October 29th.
This decision has received widespread criticism as an overreaching interpretation of a law intended for the Venezuelan government that is being used to punish its citizens.
What are Digital Freedom Advocates saying:
The pulling of Adobe services across Venezuela highlights the impact global politics can have on the digital lives of citizens around the world.
Adobe, like many service providers, has moved most of its products to the cloud and online subscription models in the last decade, which means they continue to exert control over their tools and services, even once you have handed over the money to purchase them.
In the past, when you bought an online service and downloaded it, there was little to nothing a firm like Adobe could do to take back their product from your computer remotely, in order to rescind your right to use it.
What will Venezuelan photographers, graphic designers, artists, and journalists do now? They've paid hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for Adobe's products over the years, which suddenly will now be unusable and what's even more infuriating for them: non-refundable.
Can they use alternative software? The short answer is yes, but that will require importing all work from Adobe, hours of retraining, and more money spent to cover a service they have already paid for. This will be extremely frustrating for freelancers.
This Big Brother-like behavior from Adobe, withdrawing services, at the behest of the American government, highlights just how beholden we all are to the digital services and tools that we depend on for our daily lives both personally and professionally, and just how much power the providers of these services now wield.
Pete Zaborszky, Founder of Privacy Watchdog ProPrivacy.com
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