Blizzard wins "Privacy Invasion Award" from the EFF

  • #1
    Well, this is pretty funny timing, considering I've been trying to raise awareness about the issue in Diablo 3 that we cannot "Appear Offline", and any of our friends (BattleTag OR RealID) as well as recent players can see you online, see whether you're in a game, and see WHO you're in a game with, whether you like it or not - you have no choice whether to appear online or not. Major privacy concern IMO.

    Anyway, just posted today:

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/05/and-privacy-invasion-award-goes-to

    In the consumer protection category, video game company Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. won a Big Brother Award for a change of terms that raised a host of privacy concerns, including a scan of the computer’s working memory to prevent cheating, chat recording that captures text communications, game recording and player rankings that reveal how often and how long players have been playing. “Our reason to give today’s Big Brother Award is the full interaction between numerous components, under the label ‘Real ID,’” the judges noted.


    Hopefully this will pressure Blizzard to consider these issues a little more closely in the future. I can still very clearly recall the major controversy about the "real name" issue a while back.

    There's another much longer writeup about Blizzard's privacy concerns back in April: https://www.bigbrotherawards.de/2012-en/.cons/ Very informative read.
  • #2
    You can appear offline through battlenet 2.0 if you actually knew what you were talking about. (See: Starcraft 2).

    Blizzard SHOULD scan your memory to look for bots. Its there perogative as part of their terms of use... and trying to stop people from cheating.
  • #3
    Security aside, I wasn't aware anyone took the EFF seriously.
  • #4
    Blizzard has had paranoia issues for a while now.

    I'm kinda surprised that people just recently caught wind.

    And yea, it's one thing to want to protect your stuff. It's another to be paranoid.
  • #5
    I'm not sure I understand what the big deal with people seeing you online is.
    Playing a Wizard. Looking for Demon Hunters to play with.
  • #6
    Quote from Nastai

    I'm not sure I understand what the big deal with people seeing you online is.


    It's more of a privacy concern then a security concern. If you want to log in and just knock out a few games without people saying "Hey wanna co op??". It gets awkward when you have to tell the same person over and over no.

    And eff, whoever they are, are a little behind. Blizzard has been scanning peoples systems for years. Warden anybody??

    I don't think they deserve the privacy invasion award, sort of a ridiculous statement. If it's seriously that big of a deal don't add any friends.
  • #7
    I think all of the things they monitor are completely justified to ensure a safe/pleasant gaming environment for everyone. In-game chat is not the place to be discussing highly private topics, so they're not wrong for monitoring that.
  • #8
    Quote from Rawrgrablle

    I think all of the things they monitor are completely justified to ensure a safe/pleasant gaming environment for everyone. In-game chat is not the place to be discussing highly private topics, so they're not wrong for monitoring that.


    I think the vast majority of it is unjustified.
  • #9
    Warden has been scanning us since the beginning of time, what's the issue? :D

    Thanks Aranoch for the sig!
  • #10
    Nothing that you can't simply deny by disagreeing with the terms of use. Its a bit dismaying to see people complain when they have a choice...
    Of all things important in Online Gaming, there is one thing no game developer can "fix" - it's community.
  • #11
    Is this a joke?
  • #12
    Quote from mugfubawumpus

    Is this a joke?


    About Blizzard scanning your memory? Absolutely not. D2 Multiplayer was horrible for all the wrong reasons, despite the game having excellent gameplay. What exactly is it that you're so paranoid about?

    As far as the whole being online 100% of the time thing goes, I could care less. Either grow a spine or change your online status.

    If I felt that Blizzard was somehow doing me unjust, I would not buy the game, and by extension, not agree to their terms of use. I also don't beat my mailman into a pulp because he knows where I live, although I don't know him personally. How about you go complain about invasion of privacy where you actually don't have a choice to deny it, like government politics?
    Of all things important in Online Gaming, there is one thing no game developer can "fix" - it's community.
  • #13
    Quote from Sabvre

    You can appear offline through battlenet 2.0 if you actually knew what you were talking about. (See: Starcraft 2).

    Blizzard SHOULD scan your memory to look for bots. Its there perogative as part of their terms of use... and trying to stop people from cheating.

    How?
    Can't say i noticed a way to appear offline in the beta, might have missed it though.
  • #14
    Quote from Nuvian

    Quote from Sabvre

    You can appear offline through battlenet 2.0 if you actually knew what you were talking about. (See: Starcraft 2).

    Blizzard SHOULD scan your memory to look for bots. Its there perogative as part of their terms of use... and trying to stop fucktards from cheating.

    How?
    Can't say i noticed a way to appear offline in the beta, might have missed it though.


    I don't think it was in the beta either, but beta is beta :P

    You can change settings in SC2 to only get whispers and invites from friends, and also automatically go into DND status when you're ingame. If not already present in release version or launch patch, I'm sure this will be one of the first things to get patched in.
    Of all things important in Online Gaming, there is one thing no game developer can "fix" - it's community.
  • #15
    I just find it really aggravating every time some business or organization takes that sort of 'next invasive step.' Inch by inch every single aspect of our lives is being invaded by someone or something and used for gathering statistics. I guess it's sort of like all the people who freaked out when the social security system was invented. "OMG everyone is going to have a number!" Yes, we might have a choice, but before there was no choice there to make. That is, you didn't have to opt out of all kinds of legal agreements every time you did anything.
  • #16
    lol thats ridiculous imo, they do those things to idd secure the overall environment in game to bring the player a better gaming experience, and by that to increase community features like seeing what friends do and if they r online or not.
    if it's that big of a deal to some1 - don't play online games period and on that same wind don't open a user in facebook.

    what about the rumors that google knows everything about u to an unimaginable extent? which in that case, i am not sure there is any terms of use in using google as a site, plus it doesn't benefit u as a user in any way.

    no1 force u to use the Internet or play online, so what every1 need to do is to list the pros and cons of that use - and see what they prefer.

    best regards,

    Arrok
  • #17
    Quote from mugfubawumpus

    I just find it really aggravating every time some business or organization takes that sort of 'next invasive step.' Inch by inch every single aspect of our lives is being invaded by someone or something and used for gathering statistics. I guess it's sort of like all the people who freaked out when the social security system was invented. "OMG everyone is going to have a number!" Yes, we might have a choice, but before there was no choice there to make. That is, you didn't have to opt out of all kinds of legal agreements every time you did anything.


    I understand that there was no decision to make a few years ago, but gaming has become a different media since then. My biggest gripe with D2 was bots, hacks and duping. Scanning memory isn't a big deal to me personally because I'd rather have a game that was much better at tackling those problem. I know that not everybody will agree with that, but there don't seem to be many alternatives brought up to prevent the cheating aspect of playing games. In D3's specific case, there's also money involved, so it becomes even more important to uphold the integrity of the community. If someone were to present an alternative that would not be intrusive and have drawbacks on my gameplay experience, I can get behind that, but until that happens, I'll take Blizzard's approach as a good sign that they actually attempt to fix the problem D2 had.

    The Online/Offline status is in a weird spot right now, because its nothing that can't be fixed relatively easy. While I don't mind the way it appeared to be in Beta, if enough people bring it up to Blizzard, I don't mind putting my vote with the community to have them change it, but I also don't really care enough about it to be on the forefront and fight to me teeth for it.

    When I purchase a game, I do so because there are certain expectations I have from said game. While its not unreasonable to disagree with Blizzard's assumed stance on this, if those things help out meeting my expectations of the game through some way, then I'll compare their approach to the end result. Scanning memory will make it harder to run 3rd party programs once they become known, so to me, its a good tradeoff. I'm not upset about it because I buy the game because of the gameplay, not the privacy. Its the price we pay for using the internet to play these kind of game with our friends, without having to worry about cheaters. If a better, less intrusive approach becomes available, I'll take that - but until then, I'll just weigh the pros and cons and decide whether or not I'll buy the game.
    Of all things important in Online Gaming, there is one thing no game developer can "fix" - it's community.
  • #18
    I dont really see the problem here? You can appear offline in wow, so why not in D3 too? Just block the b.net IP address ._.
  • #19
    Basically, if you don't like these security measures, you're going to have to start liking bots. And from the uproar in D2 about bots, well, I don't think anyone wants to see bots filling either of the AH's.

    Really couldn't care less about these measures - unless of course they don't stop bots. And the only thing I'll be annoyed about then is the bots.
    And may the odds be ever in your favour.
    Emmo#2406
  • #20
    Society seems naive in general about all kinds of issues. The tyranny of goverment, and parasitical politicians doesn't seem to bother them at all.

    I was there, when Blizzard brought RealID as a feature into World of Warcraft. I protested and protested, in the end they went ahead and did it anyway. because its impossible to listen to fans anymore when you're dealing with a userbase of more then 10 million (thats like 2 small whole countries). Look at what happend with Steve Jobs, after Apple companey reached ''God'' status,
    A small company nobody will give a shit about, but as demographics increase in numbers that is involved with the company... you are guaranteed to get mafia at your doorsteps, so that Apple doesn't just go into the direction he pleases... of one mans principles (Steve Jobs).

    The influence and interest in social engeering gets higher the more people there is involved. We live in an age now were you can sell demographics and earn money with it like on Facebook. But in the end, for the elite, money is just a means to achieve their goals. And this is where cooperation of Activision and Blizzard comes in.

    Like I said, people will stay naive and oblivious to the real issues. Camera's worldwide increasing in to the point, where when I travel the city, there is not a SINGLE area where it isn't filled with surveilance in preposterous amounts... but DON'T worry, its for your protection and safety! lololollozorslolol!



    You see.. its a distraction. There will be no chips! No chips at all... Just RealID, and the people allready accepted that long time ago.

    But oh well... I feel like a hypocrite giving arguments here, while I also may eventually give in to my desires. And worship Diablo as an idol. LOL! I am by no means perfect. But I speak out whenever I can. Wich in my opinion everyone should.

    Anyways, this award doesn't surprise me whatsoever.
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