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Blizzard secretly watermarking World of Warcraft screenshots with user data

From slashdot:

"A few days ago I noticed some weird artifacts covering the screenshots I captured using the WoW game client application. I sharpened the images and found a repeating pattern secretly embedded inside. I posted this information on the OwnedCore forum and after an amazing three-day cooperation marathon, we managed to prove that all our WoW screenshots, since at least 2008, contain a custom watermark. This watermark includes our user IDs, the time the screenshot was captured and the IP address of the server we were on at the time. It can be used to track down activities which are against Blizzard's Terms of Service, like hacking the game or running a private server. The users were never notified by the ToS that this watermarking was going on so, for four years now, we have all been publicly sharing our account and realm information for hackers to decode and exploit. You can find more information on how to access the watermark in the aforementioned forum post which is still quite active."

http://games.slashdot.org/story/12/...secretly-watermarking-world-of-warcraft-users
 
Aug 17, 2011
1,724
0
0
Canada
Prt Scrn guys!

 

FinKL

Member
Sep 3, 2006
4,635
0
0
This is pretty big I would think. Now kind of makes you wonder what other games do this. Wonder if D3 did it as well.
 

Filth

Member
Jan 23, 2010
3,201
197
1,035
Why is this bad?

It's like buying a camera and secretly there's a hidden message with my name, address, and all sorts of information I didnt want on my photo. And they were secretly doing it. Its a total breech of privacy in my opinion.
 

thetrin

Hail, peons, for I have come as ambassador from the great and bountiful Blueberry Butt Explosion
Sep 14, 2005
43,284
1
0
37
Osaka, Japan
www.playism-games.com
That's...kind of fucked up. They could have at least put it in the TOS (though I'm sure they figured no one was going to read it anyway, so they didn't bother)
 

Htown

STOP SHITTING ON MY MOTHER'S HEADSTONE
Feb 19, 2008
44,007
7
0
Huh. Since the year Blizzard merged with Activision.
 

Dance Inferno

Unconfirmed Member
Dec 30, 2008
11,555
0
0
www.neogaf.com
I swear, Blizzard is constantly pulling shit like this, infringing on users' privacy in the name of "better service," and they never see as large of a user backlash as any other firm would if they tried the same thing.
 

Oni Link 666

Member
Jun 10, 2004
9,613
0
1,625
I don't see what good your user ID, time, and realm IP does to anyone but Blizzard. Remember that you log into Battle.net with your email address, not your user ID. Your user ID is pretty useless.
 

Oersted

Member
Mar 14, 2012
32,329
1
0
It's like buying a camera and secretly there's a hidden message with my name, address, and all sorts of information I didnt want on my photo. And they were secretly doing it. Its a total breech of privacy in my opinion.

dont buy androids or iphones. but yes, its bad.
 

Bisnic

Really Really Exciting Member!
Dec 5, 2008
21,751
0
920
Tuchanka
By userID, they mean the email adress we are using for our Battle.net account? At least my password and randomly generated authenticator number isn't in there. :lol
 
Jan 9, 2011
2,459
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0
They're making your UserID publicly available without your consent.
is it really publicly available if it requires a hacker to decode it? perhaps hackers will release tools for the public to easily decode it, but i'm not particularly upset about the idea personally.
 

scy

Member
Jul 20, 2007
24,496
0
900
College Station, Tx
That's...kind of fucked up. They could have at least put it in the TOS (though I'm sure they figured no one was going to read it anyway, so they didn't bother)

It not being in the TOS is the biggest surprise. I mean, I didn't know about this watermarking but I'm not entirely shocked there's some kind of user data in it :|

No more anonymous sex for you!

Man, there's going to be a lot of hilarious WoW screenshots that people are going to go decode now.
 

Z3M0G

Member
Jan 16, 2012
9,748
41
585
I wonder if mass knowledge of this could have more negative affects than positive...
 

XEROWUN

Neo Member
May 6, 2012
253
0
0
They're making your UserID publicly available without your consent.

this was argued a while back when the character profiles told people in real time what the person was doing in game. the conclusion, like it or not is, wow owns everything even your UserID which means they can do what ever they want with it, though stupid how it is.
 

stuminus3

Member
Nov 29, 2006
13,597
2
1,335
Ontario
I don't see what good your user ID, time, and realm IP does to anyone but Blizzard. Remember that you log into Battle.net with your email address, not your user ID. Your user ID is pretty useless.
*Nothing* personal posted on the internet is useless. User IDs are not as anonymous as you think.
 

Ferrio

Banned
Jun 7, 2004
56,398
1
0
It's like buying a camera and secretly there's a hidden message with my name, address, and all sorts of information I didnt want on my photo. And they were secretly doing it. Its a total breech of privacy in my opinion.

Except it's not. Your analogy only works if it's just your name, that's the only personal information in SS.
 

hym

Banned
Aug 10, 2011
2,485
0
0
I doubt any 3rd party has a use for this but what I am worried about is that people creating exploit guides or pretty much anything Blizzard doesn't like are unknowingly also telling them who they are simply by sharing a screenshot.
 

commish

Jason Kidd murdered my dog in cold blood!
Aug 3, 2004
26,509
0
0
I don't see what the problem is. And if you dont' like it, then don't play their games?