Sunday, October 07, 2012

Article: Even World of Warcraft is tracking you!

I just finished reading the Backspin article of the same name from the September 24th Network World Magazine. It is just another article that points out once again the lack of personal privacy and laws on the Internet.

Let me spare you a few cycles here, Blizzard Entertainment decided to use steganography to secretly (in this case the secrets out) encode trackable user information. This came to light earlier last month when screenshots were analyzed. The information includes account ID, time stamp, and IP address of the current realm. All of which can be used to stage an attack on the account owner. NICE!

The really bad thing is that the original information contained account ID which was equivalent to login information back in 2007. This has changed with upgrades, but warning to those with old accounts.

While I believe that most of us don't want to trust our government to monitor us to keep us safe. I do believe that they have a responsibility, as do we, to demand that laws which protect our privacy should have a minimal threshold. Let's call it a "Stupidity Factor" which says when you place personally identifiable information, or secondary information which combined with easily accessible information completes the picture, should make the exposer liable.

I am not one for lawsuits, but having something like a financial penalty which is a strong deterrent, and also offering civil liability make companies make "better" decisions. The general maxim for most companies has something like "maximizing shareholder value." Litigation and governmental fines, or restrictions in the ability operate are counter that proposition.

Essentially by holding these companies financially responsible is more likely to cause them to behave better, or at least give them pause.


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