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Adobe revokes access to customers in Venezuela but won’t refund them

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Adobe is that closed-source, proprietary, old-school tech corporation that once played a rather pivotal role in the rise of the internet, but then managed to also degrade the entire ecosystem’s security and performance to a low point.

Of course, we’re talking about Adobe’s flagships and tech’s abominations like Flash, and even the PDF format – that long-time favorite attack vector for any lazy malicious actor.

Nevertheless – like its ’90s tech dinosaur pal Microsoft, Adobe made it to this millennium – but not so much by pivoting, like Microsoft is doing, as by maintaining a marketplace stranglehold on a number of products and services that a lot of professionals continue to depend on – like Photoshop and Illustrator. And for these, customers continue to pay good money.

The only pivoting that has happened with Adobe was the licensing model – they moved their products online, to “the cloud” – i.e., to a storage space owned by corporations, rather than you on your own computer. That’s called “software as a service” and it disenfranchises the customer in some pretty bad ways – even in the best of circumstances.

Well – if you’re a regular citizen who depends on an Adobe product in the troubled nation of Venezuela – and if you have paid Adobe those sometimes exorbitant monthly subscription fees for their services – you’re out of luck. On every count.

Adobe will not only revoke your license later this month – but the good old behemoth won’t even reimburse you.

“The US Government issued Executive Order 13884, the practical effect of which is to prohibit almost all transactions and services between U.S. companies, entities, and individuals in Venezuela. To remain compliant with this order, Adobe is deactivating all accounts in Venezuela,” Adobe says on its website.

But the wording here is as interesting as is Boing Boing’s decision not to explore it: the presidential order in question targets Venezuelan government assets – rather than every single ordinary Venezuelan citizen – which is what Adobe has done.

And Adobe’s not the only one. So – why are American tech giants choosing to interpret the order in this blanket, “carpet bombing” way – when the attack is clearly targeted?

Is it out of incompetence – a desire to avoid even a remote possibility of liability, with no regard to the harm it may cause to any number of paying customers – or is it out of malice – a desire to assigning meaning to their government’s decision that is not really there?

Here are some good open source alternatives to the main products of Adobe’s suite:

Inkscape (to replace Illustrator), GIMP (Photoshop), and Krita (mostly raster image design, but can also handle a lot of vector tasks).

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, join Reclaim The Net.

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