Adobe Just Became the Privacy Villain - Here Are the Heroes Protecting Your Art

Adobe Just Became the Privacy Villain - Here Are the Heroes Protecting Your Art

Adobe recently sparked major backlash after updating its terms of service with vague language about accessing user content. The issue? This section:"We may access your content through both automated and manual methods, such as for content review." For creatives using Adobe products like Photoshop and Illustrator, this set off alarms. The concern is that Adobe could potentially view, analyze and use their work - even sensitive projects governed by NDAs - without explicit consent. While Adobe claims this policy has been around for years to enable cloud services and content moderation, the new wording removes previous distinctions about only scanning uploaded files, not local ones. Adobe says the changes allow both automated scanning and human review to detect illegal material, spam, etc. But many felt the company downplayed valid privacy and IP concerns.

As creative professionals, our work is our lifeblood. This recent Adobe terms of service debacle struck a nerve, with the tech giant appearing to grant itself disturbingly broad powers to access our precious creative files and projects. While Adobe has tried to reassure users that the changes were simply clarifications around existing policies for enabling services like cloud storage, the vague language opened a Pandora's box of privacy and intellectual property concerns. Many of us were left wondering - can we trust Adobe with our life's work anymore?

The controversy has shone a light on the need for more consumer choice and competition in the creative software space. For too long, Adobe's Creative Cloud has dominated the market, leaving users feeling beholden to their subscription model and terms. But what if there was another way? A growing number of affordable alternatives and open-source options have emerged as viable contenders to Adobe's hegemony. From Affinity's comprehensive suite to powerhouse iPad apps like Procreate, creators finally have options to explore software that respects their rights while delivering top-notch capabilities. In the wake of this PR nightmare, now is the time to seriously evaluate your creative toolkit. Exploring alternative software doesn't just provide negotiating leverage with Adobe - it's about taking back control of your creative destiny.  We've just downloaded a trial with Affinity to see if this can serve our needs...

What are your options?

Here are some potential alternatives to Adobe's Creative Suite that creators could consider in light of the terms of service controversy:

Affinity Suite (Affinity Photo, Designer, Publisher)

Affinity's suite of apps for photo editing, graphic design, and desktop publishing has gained popularity as a more affordable alternative to Adobe's offerings. It provides comparable functionality without a subscription model.
Affinity Photo:
Affinity Designer:
Affinity Publisher:


Pixlr Suite (Pixlr X, E, etc.)

Pixlr offers a range of free and paid web-based and desktop photo editing tools that could serve as replacements for Photoshop and Lightroom, especially for more casual users.

Pixlr X:
Pixlr E:


GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)

GIMP is a free and open-source raster graphics editor that has long been a popular alternative to Photoshop for basic image editing needs.



An open-source vector graphics editor, Inkscape provides many of Illustrator's features at no cost.



Originally designed for digital design, Sketch has evolved into a viable alternative to Illustrator and Photoshop for UI/UX and graphic designers.

Procreate (iPad only)

For digital artists and illustrators, Procreate on the iPad is a powerful and intuitive drawing and painting app that rivals Photoshop's capabilities.



An open-source digital painting and animation program, Krita is highly regarded among comic/manga artists and animators as an Adobe alternative.


While none of these fully replicate Adobe's comprehensive ecosystem, they provide more affordable or open-source options tailored to different creative needs. The controversy highlights the desire for more competition and consumer choice in this software space. It's important to evaluate the specific features and workflow requirements for your creative projects. But exploring alternatives now could provide leverage in future negotiations with Adobe or an exit strategy if trust cannot be regained



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