A few on the web and newsletters have mentioned in speculation that Autodesk checks over the Internet when AutoCAD is started. Some implied it was Autodesk grabbing information when in fact it is most certainly not. I think part of the problem was one newsletter writer read another newsletter and then decided it was a slow newsday so they just flamed the wild speculation without checking for the facts.
The Internet activity upon loading the Autodesk software is not to Autodesk, but to VeriSign, and is due to AutoCAD being digitally signed with Authenticode and verified by VeriSign. This assures users of valid content (the software really comes from the publisher who signed it) and content integrity (the software has not been altered or corrupted since it was signed). When AutoCAD launches, Microsoft Windows detects that our DLLs are signed (as required by Windows Logo Certification requirements) and attempts to verify that our signature has not been revoked. To do this, Microsoft Windows pings VeriSign’s servers. Microsoft Windows performs this verification for both AcStart launch and AutoCAD launch. None of this communication is with or to Autodesk.
The only times that AutoCAD sends information to Autodesk are in the following situations:
- Product activation and registration. – Product activation takes place the first time you run your Autodesk software. You transmit the product serial number, a “request code”, and your registration data to Autodesk, where the serial number is validated and an activation code created and returned to your computer to enable your software. Most users will experience activation only once. When activating, Autodesk also requires product registration.
For more information on activation and registration, visit: http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/index?siteID=123112&id=3970195
- Error Reporting – When AutoCAD encounters an error or crashes, the user has the option to send a summary of that error to Autodesk to assist us in diagnosing and addressing the error. The Error Report feature collects and sends the following information (encrypted for privacy) as part of the error reporting process:
- Operating system name and version
- Autodesk product name, version, and serial number
- Graphics configuration driver name and version
- List of applications loaded when an error occurs
- List of recent Autodesk commands
- Portion of Autodesk program in memory when an error occurs
In addition to the above information, customers may choose to include the following optional information:
- E-mail address: if provided by the customer in the Customer Error Report dialog box
- Step-by-step description of the error: if provided by the customer in the Customer Error Report dialog box
- Computer name: if enabled with the Deployment wizard or the CAD Manager Control utility
For more information on error reporting, visit: http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/index?siteID=123112&id=7047344&linkID=2475323
- Communication Center – If the Communication Center is active and set to receive updates, it checks for new content at the frequency specified by the user. In order to receive the appropriate content from Autodesk, the Communication Center sends the following information to Autodesk:
- Autodesk product name (AutoCAD, Inventor, etc.)
- Autodesk product version (2004, 2005, etc.)
- Autodesk product language
No serial number, registration information, or any personal data is sent to Autodesk as part of the Communication Center process.
CAD Managers may control their users’ access to the Communication Center: http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/ps/item?siteID=123112&id=3750373&linkID=2475323
Autodesk takes ours customers’ privacy seriously, and strive for openness and transparency in what information our customers choose to share with Autodesk.