back to article Blizzard comes out clean after WoW pants-down plans

Blizzard looks set to escape with nothing more than a mild rebuke after it abandoned plans to oblige members of the World of Warcraft (WoW) forums to reveal their real names. The move was announced earlier this month as a means to stamp out abusive behaviour, such as flame wars and trolling, but was abandoned days later …


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  1. Adam 38

    Still Not Compliant

    Hah, I was one of those 17! Still though, they are using data for purposes other than which it was originally collected. Having specifically enabled "parental controls" on my account to disable 'Real ID' ingame, when I play the SC2 Beta I am confronted with my name after I log in. Surely this is more of the same; using data for purposes other than which it was originally collected. While it's not a terrible problem because it's still 'private', it means I couldn't record video or make a live broadcast of my game without making myself known.

  2. Monty Burns

    epic.... truly epic....

    "by sending back a mass mailed email reply to all the complainants, using cc instead of bcc, so that recipients could see a huge number of email addresses belonging to fellow complain"

    Well done lads, round of drinks all round!

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      good for you

      I was going to be number 18 but couldnt be arsed. I went to the pub instead.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    In a fantasy world ...

    In WoW I would have expected them to have REAL trolls.

    I'll get back under the bridge ...

  4. Daniel 1

    I know little of this "World of Warcraft" of which you speak...

    However,I have shared offices with a variety of part-time orcs, dwarves and elves, and have been astonished by the amount of liberties that they (supposedly savvy IT types) will allow that company to take from them. Reading the T&Cs, as far as I can make out from the jargon (I am not a lawyer), the game masters appear able to monitor all conversations between players, at any time, interfere with their actions in order to evaluate how players respond to change under unexpected conditions, and (this seems to be the best bit) *sell* the results of their findings...

    Kids, this isn't a game, it's a laboratory. If there weren't ten-or-however-million, of you, playing it, it probably wouldn't be statistically significant - but there are, so it probably is.

    "Your foster parents are dead... But don't worry, you can buy some new ones, with ten Emblems of Winter"

    1. Paul 4

      Tinfoil hat


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: tinfoil hat much?

        Only if tinfoil hats are required to read Ts&Cs nowadays. And that would be bad, because tinfoil hats *attract* government mind control rays. See?

        Though note that the researcher himself is wearing a tinfoil hat, so clearly that's the government mind control rays speaking.

        On that note, I find it interesting in the chinese sense that you assume tinfoil hats when Ts&Cs are brought up in polite conversation. I'd almost suspect you're wearing one.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      RE: I know little of this "World of Warcraft" of which you speak...

      Some of that only applies to the beta realms.

      Conversations will only be monitored if there have been a large number of complaints about a users misbehaviour....

  5. DavCrav Silver badge

    Did notice...

    "A spokesman said there was unlikely to be enforcement action because Blizzard didn't actually apply the controversial changes, which would have violated data protection guidelines."

    Well, yes. Surely having plans to do something, then changing your mind before doing them, is not a crime. Hmm... I'm thinking about conspiracy here, but doesn't that need more than one person/organization?

    If we're going to start wanting prosecutions for things that don't happen, I can see a lot of court cases happening.

  6. Alexander Hanff 1
    Black Helicopters

    ICO couldn't do anything anyway

    I was discussing this in a meeting with ICO just Thursday (I contacted ICO and the FTC regarding Blizzard's plans - and Blizzard's executive office) and really there was very little ICO could do. Yes the data was being used for a purpose other than that which it was collected for which is indeed a breach - but the enforcement powers of ICO are still incredibly limited, so the chances are that Blizzard would only have received a slap on the wrist anyway.

    This is down to our Government refusing to give ICO the powers they need. Until Christopher Graham is given the ability to prosecute for a custodial sentence there is really no incentive for companies to follow the rules. ICO can of course fine upto 500k now but such a fine is a drop in the ocean to large international companies like Activision/Blizzard.

    The Tories just last week have made it abundantly clear that they have no desire to give ICO the powers they are asking for and certainly have no plans to legislate for custodial sentences.

  7. Catroast


    Bah, I was looking forward to the unmasking ceremony.

    Of Blizzard's forums, "you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."

  8. Morpho Devilpepper

    "Noo...don't expose me

    ...for the non-life-having, vitriolic abuse-monger that I am. If I can't abuse people anonymously like a pyromaniac foster-child I don't know what I'll do!"

    Feh. MMORPGs should come with built-in psychotherapy.

  9. David 141

    So don't post then

    "Blizzard would have needed to tell people up front that it intended to use their real names on forums..."

    Which it could have done when the user tried to post a message. Don't agree? No posting for you then.

    It's not like they were going to apply this retroactively to existing posts.

    1. Brezin Bardout


      'Don't agree? No posting for you then.'

      I'm pretty sure people were well aware that if they didn't agree they could stop posting. In fact I'm pretty sure that's exactly what they were complaining about. That, if they value their privacy and personal information, they will no longer be able to use a service they are already paying towards.

      Oh, and the fact they tried to pass it off as some sort of sudden crusade to get rid of trolls didn't exactly help their cause.

      I'm suprised someone reading a site aimed at I.T. professionals cannot see the problem with having someone's real life name publicly associated to every post they make on a gaming forum of a massively popular game such as this.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    David 141

    thats not the point, when the name was taken it was for billing and shipping reasons only. adding a disclaimer before posting after the fact does not mean the law is negated.

  11. moonface

    Ideological differences

    A Blizzard spokesman commented "the righteous Alliance members support these protective measures, as they have nothing to hide thus nothing to fear, whereas the immoral Horde...................................... "

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