People Complaining About Blizzard's "Real ID" Have Their Email Addresses Exposed

Sometimes irony can be delicious. In this case, it's a little bit tragic, with the ESRB publicly releasing the email addresses of people who had written to the board to protest... the revelation of private information.

Blizzard's decision (and ultimate reversal) this week to institute a "real names" policy on the company's forums led to widespread protests across the internet, with many concerned that this would lead to an invasion of their privacy.

Around 1000 of those upset decided to email the ESRB, which has a history of championing online privacy through initiatives like the Privacy Online program.

Thing is, when responding to these, someone at the ESRB went and hit "reply all".

Thus anyone being replied to had instant access to the email addresses of all involved. It's not a dangerous mistake - it's not like these were home addresses or social security numbers being handed out - but a lot of people use their real names in email addresses, and if they're concerned enough about online privacy to write to the ESRB, they'll be concerned enough that their email addresses were handed out to around 1000 random strangers.

ESRB unintentionally exposes email addresses of people who filed complaints over Blizzard's Real ID system [WoW]


Comments

    It's hardly random, they're basically being put in contact with 999 people who agree with them.
    I doubt it was deliberate, but I still feel no pity for these people.

    You guys are laughing, seriously?

    It's terrible. RealID was obviously a mistake, and these people who were bothered enough to do something about it have been screwed over.

    No :P emoticon for this.

    I hate the fact that people can hide behind avatars or fake names and act like douche bags towards other people. Real ID was a good idea and should have gone ahead.

      Clearly that was the intention, to try and combat trolls and flaming. But it would never get rid of it completely and as everyone has no doubt seen there could have been some pretty serious consequences to the system. It only takes 1 crazy person in a thousand to make someone's life hell.

      Anyway, I think this is pretty ridiculous. I'm expecting one hell of an apology from the ESRB. I have no actual investment in this as I didn't email them, and don't even use the Blizzard forums, but this is an organisation that should be supporting and helping protect these people and now they have gone and done the opposite. Sure I doubt anything negative will actually come of this mistake, but that doesn't make it ok.

      And I hate the fact that there are idiots who fail to understand freedom of speech and the right to anonymity, especially on the internet.

      If people are being douchebags and others can't handle it, then they are either not old enough, or mature enough to be on the internet in the first place. It's this exact line of thought that ultimately ends in censorship.

      I don't play WoW, but I certainly believe that everyone, even those too stupid to realize it, have the right to anonymity which confers the right to freedom of speech with it. Blizzard was doing nothing short of censorship of what people say, and that's despicable.

    I'm glad they axed RealID, though I have to say that this is pretty funny and ironic xD

      Blizzard aren't / haven't axed Real ID at all... they're just not going to be revealing registered names on the new forums.

      I don't see the problem - why shouldn't people be accountable for their own actions in a public forum? There is no threat of persecution other than from your peers, so there should be no reason for anonymity.

      The US Constitution gives rights for anonymity and freedom of speech to the public to protect them from persecution of their government. When you post on the Blizzard forums you have to sign in - which means Blizzard know who EXACTLY who is posting. The only people who can be deceived by fake names is the other average users, so what's the problem?

      Ultimately, if you're not willing to put your name to something you've said... you probably shouldn't say it in the first place.

    Do I sense a class action coming up? =P.

    Someone forgot to use BCC

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