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Rant: PDF-Sealing is pseudo-security frustrating nonsense.

New Here ,
Mar 19, 2024 Mar 19, 2024

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I am referring to: Unlock a signed PDF file (adobe.com)


In summary, a downloaded copy of a signed PDF is 'secured' with a randomly-generated password. The claims I have seen is this is necessary to insure the integrity of the document and keep docuyments from being edited after signing.


This is clearly complete nonsense.


First of all, it does nothing to accomplish this goal. If I want to 'edit' a 'signed PDF' all I have to do is open the document for reading in Chrome or some other PDF viewer, and then print it to PDF. I will then have a new PDF without this password that I can edit as I will.


Second, the authenticity of a digital signature CLEARLY must come from the audit logs of a trusted third party - i.e. Adobe Servers - and not from a file itself. As already mentioned, I can easily edit a signed document. My holding a copy of this document proves nothing.  This is exactly why a signed document comes with a "Final Audit Report" and a transaction ID - so that Adobe can verify the authenticity of the signature.


Adobe, you practically acknowledge this yourself by letting your Enterprise customers set any password they want for these files. If this really compromised the integrity of the signature, why would they do it?


Instead, what you have done, is created a frustrating blocker for people trying to do simple things. Today, I simply wanted combine one into a binder as Exhibit A, which was blocked because of the password. Or, I wanted to get initials on a previously signed Document, which is also blocked. So, I followed the print-to-PDF workaround - a frustrating exercise in annoying extra work and an opportunity for me to make a mistake. What if the print somehow messess up the original document???


I tried asking support to set my PDF-Sealing password, but they just transferred me to sales to buy an Enterprise contract. I am a single-person business trying to do basic things, and this "feature" is just getting in my way for no reason. Remove it, or at the very lease, let us plebs who still pay a lot for your software set their own PDF-sealing password.

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