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some private data included in WoW screenshots
  • http://www.ownedcore.com/forums/world-of-warcraft/world-of-warcraft-general/375573-looking-inside-your-screenshots.html

    Not exactly the biggest personal info leak (time, realm, account id) but still a little creepy. Easy to turn off, it seems, at least.
  • Jinx!
    Spencer Cross AKA Lurzmog | Balkhmog | Gobhoblin
  • Very interesting.
  • WoW Insider's post on this. Cross post from 'Activision Blizzard Secretly Watermarking World of Warcraft Users' thread.
  • Ah good they pointed out the reasons that they might watermark that I was thinking of. (Of course if it is easy to remove it is limited in effectiveness but some is better than none.)
  • A couple of views are going around -

    One is the Yroa take - 'because it's teh internets you have no expectation of privacy'. I can't begrudge anyone for adopting this extreme opinion, given the morass of complexity that is privacy on the net but it's utterly counterfactual in every legal, ethical and technical sense. If you believe it and live by it, good for you but it simply is not true. [*]

    The other is 'partial identifiable information, unwittingly released by you is not dangerous because [...]'. It's a little subtler but also completely inaccurate. Of course Blizzard can track you personally and their ToU give them the right to do all sorts of intrusive things to your machine while you run the WoW client. This is very different from 'put a tracking code for everyone to see into my every screenshot'. That enables not just tracking by Blizzard but tracking by third parties.

    A cautionary tale of what can be done with partial personal id -
    http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/09/cosmo-the-god-who-fell-to-earth/all/

    Of course, nobody is going to automatically steal your account simply because you posted a WoW screenshot. But you are leaving far more personally identifiable information behind, without consenting to it and without knowing about it. And that's not ok - it's not your or my job to be publicly signed up to publish such info for Blizzard's NDA-breaker or cheat tracking convenience.

    [*] one important point here is that this line of nerdthought has led quite a few people into very serious legal trouble.

    Post edited by hronk at 2012-09-12 05:43:40
  • I don't think that ethics and legality come into play when I'm thinking about stuff that I put onto the internet. I don't think that there's enough representation of these two concepts on the internet to warrant putting any faith in them, personally. The internet isn't completely peopled with asshats (look at us, for an example) but it doesn't take more than one of them to be a problem. The legal system also isn't able to undo mental/emotional damage done by certain things that happen on the internet.

    "Cyber-bullying Leads to Teen Suicide." Not a particularly original headline, but no amount of legal team experience is going to bring someone back to life or mend the lives of family and friends of the deceased. Just because something is illegal doesn't mean that it doesn't happen.

    If "ethics on the internet" is your argument, then I think that you're going to need crutches in order to not topple over (in my mind). I'm not saying that my opinion is right, I'm saying that it's what I believe. I find that there's a distinct lack of ethics on the internet because people feel that they are anonymous and can say whatever they want without consequence (e.g., people posting on cnn.com). Some individuals do so even if they know that they aren't commenting anonymously (e.g., politicians).

    And, from a technical sense, there is nothing to stop someone from stealing something out on the web if they want it bad enough. There's almost daily articles about something being hacked from someone else, even over at Blizzard. We don't have to go to extremes in looking at hacking, we can just go to Flickr and look for copyrighted pictures that we like and then screencap/print them and put them on our walls. (no idea if the content on Flickr is copyrighted even if the photographer says so, but you get the idea ... substitute Flickr with something more functional to my argument if necessary :P)

    I think the facts (that I just made up) support my position that there are technical, ethical and legal problems all over the place with respects to the internet. At least in my fantasy land...


    PS - I genuinely miss arguing near you and having you correct me. Come play horde with me!
  • yroa said:

    I don't think that ethics and legality come into play when I'm thinking about stuff that I put onto the internet. I don't think that there's enough representation of these two concepts on the internet to warrant putting any faith in them, personally.



    I think that's a perfectly entertaining cyber-nihilism position to take and as long as you believe it about your own stuff, it's all good fun. My point was that it implies it's also true for other people's stuff and that is very much not the case.

    And you're right, you and I aren't going to be the ones who decided to 'just look around' someone's open WiFi network or poorly secured email. But people do, and when they get smacked in the face with a heavy, often federal lawbook they seem surprised that 'Hey, man, it's the internet!' doesn't seem to offer much protection.

    The tangent doesn't have anything much to do with Blizzard (or, heaven help me, cyber bullying) but I just think the 'Hey, man, it's the internet!' idea is pernicious. It's not 'Nam - there are rules. Sometimes confusing, illogical, poorly-enforced rules but they are there and you don't want to end up on the wrong end of them. Also I just like yelling at you, too.
    Post edited by hronk at 2012-09-12 10:26:16
  • You're out of your element, Donny!

    As usual, you've presented me with an opportunity to learn. This is why it's nice having you around. Sometimes I get a little too focused on how things affect me and not how they affect, or apply to, other people. I'm not totally selfish, though, I always try to consider how my actions affect others - I just don't worry so much about others affecting others :P


    My America (tm), and by extension My World (tm), would be a very different place than we have right now. I don't think that anyone but me would want to live in it. Woe be it I the person who would tell me so, too.
  • Hronk + Yroa = love. I miss you both
    But I need tacos! I need them or I will explode. That happens to me sometimes.
  • When I think back to all of the bad decisions I've made over the last year or so because I didn't consult with hronk first, I get a sad.

    Not the same sad I get when I see some snot nosed kid wasting helium by having a balloon, but a sad anyway.
  • Hronk, I've known Yroa a long time. I think you should call me. I believe the Yroa Decision Guidance Program could prove quite profitable for us.
    But I need tacos! I need them or I will explode. That happens to me sometimes.

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