Top critical review
Spyware, spyware, spyware everywhere!
July 9, 2019
Photoshop Elements (PSE) is a slimed down version of Photoshop. It has many of it features of Photoshop that an average to semi-pro can use to manipulate images. To some degree it has been "dummy downed" to make its interface a litttle easier for a novice to use. Well that is the intent, but it s still a moderately complex application to use. I have a full version of Photoshop on my Mac (at least I used to until OS-X went to 64 bit and its no longer functional) so I'm familiar with the terminology, filters ,interface etc. The DVD version of PSE which I purchased from Amazon runs on both a PC and Mac which I've installed on both (its legal) and runs O.K. I'm not going to go into how well PSE works. Lets just say that it most likely will do just about everything the average photographer would need. What I will point out though that this program is basically spyware. It reports everything you do from logging on to scraping your images in WIndows Picture folder and sending them whether you want it to on not. I've not found a way to completely shut it off completely. My first indication was right after I installed PSE, my firewall (Zone Alarm Internet Security Suite) starts giving me pop ups asking if I want to let various programs access the internet. It identifies them as executables that are part of PSE. Then I started to get pop ups where "Microsoft Photo" wants to access the internet. No executable program was identified but it dose capture the outgoing destination IP. I looked it them up and its two different communications companies in Canada (one being Tata Communications and the other Cogent Comms). There also one in from German, Pakistan as well as Russia (Kaspersky). What the heck??? None of these were there before I loaded PSE! I'm worried about my Mac as I don't have a very robust firewall on it like my WIndows machine. One of the things I did was modify my startup list to exclude Adobe (PSE) from loading any apps at startup that reduced some of the outgoing request but not all. One of the features of PSE is face recognition in your photo. I'm not sure I want some third party look at my photos and identifying who the people are in them. Just me I guess. You can not turn on this feature when you install the program, but I would not be surprised that it ignores this and that is one of the reasons trying to scrape copies of my photos. The install claims that you can turn off third party data sharing in preferences but they have it so well hidden that I've not found it yet. My advise, unless you are a hardcore photo image manipulator and don't mind all the spyware going on in the background, get a copy of Gimp. Its free and does a lot of image manipulation that an average photographer needs. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.