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How do I Track PDF files?

Posted on 2014-08-13
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Last Modified: 2014-11-10
I need to be able to track PDF files that are sent out by email.

The issue we have is that a newsletter that our company distributes only to its clients has appeared in the press. Its not something that we would like to happen again, so we are trying to work out if there is a way of tracking PDF files once they are sent out by email? Can we then see if the file is forwarded on to anyone else?

Also, what are the legalities around doing something like this from Data Protection and Privacy standpoints?

Thanks in advance
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Question by:andygrove7269
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40258303
You do not know who I forward my POP3 email to. I keep my email secure and my PC secure, so if you try to hack in to find out, you would be doing something illegal.

In short, I do not think you can do what you want with any assurance of success.
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Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016 earned 2000 total points
ID: 40258351
> so we are trying to work out if there is a way of tracking PDF files once they are sent out by email?

None that I can think of, except for putting malware on your clients' computers, which you shouldn't do.

> Can we then see if the file is forwarded on to anyone else?

No. Once a file is on a PC, it may be forwarded via email elsewhere without your knowledge, unless you put key-logging code or some form of malware on the PC.

> Also, what are the legalities around doing something like this from Data Protection and Privacy standpoints?

I don't know if that would be "illegal" (and I'm not an attorney), but I really think you don't want to do it.

My advice is to password protect the file (change it every so often, maybe quarterly), give your clients the password in a separate email, put a copyright notice on the newsletter, and say that it is not to be forwarded — something like this (I'm sure your lawyers can give you the correct statement):

Copyright © 2014 Your Company. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written consent from Your Company Name, Your Company Address.

Doesn't mean they won't do it, but they would be in violation of your copyright if they do. Regards, Joe
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 40411979
Hi Andy,
I'm trying to clean up some open questions and noticed that we haven't heard from you in more than two months on this one. Please let us know where things stand. If you're still having issues, what are they? If everything is resolved, please select the solution(s) and close the question. Thanks very much, Joe
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