What Can One Guy Do With Your Real Name?

When one Blizzard forum user challenged another to ring him at work using just his real name, he got a little more than he bargained for. Still believe Real ID is harmless?

Over at the What You Did There; I See It blog, there's a detailed play-by-play of the challenge, though the writer maintains good taste in not doing anything nasty with all his shiny new information:

Me: First and foremost, I want to apologize for calling you at work, and I also apologize if this doesn’t make sense, but are you Sikketh, from Thunderlord? MV: ::pause:: Yes. Me: So yeah, that took me about 20 minutes and it was pretty easy. MV: Wow. Ok. Me: Also, just for shits and giggles, is your address ? MV: yep. Me: Phone number 555-555-5555? MV: yep. Me: I know your parents’ names are Name1 and Name2, I know your room is painted blue and I know you have a cute dog. I know where you were on the 4th of July and I know when you got back. Don’t worry, I’m not a crazy, I’m not going to do anything with it, and I’m not going to post your address or anything anywhere. I just wanted you to know that what I did was very easy and very free, from just your name and toon’s name. You have a good day, and thanks for being a good sport about it. MV: Hey, I did basically ask for it – thank you. I was wrong about RealID.

Atomic MPC has been documenting the fallout since it was announced that you'll have to use your real name on Blizzard forums, and they note that Blizzard has been mighty quiet ever since one of their employees gave their real name and had to close down his Facebook page after being tracked down.

Although they have brought back the Starcraft 2 beta somewhat prematurely - distraction, or no?


    Well I'm not going to post on any forum with MY real name ever again.

      Me either. And I'll certainly never link it to my Facebook page, to reduce confusion, either.

        Then I'll have to refrain from giving out my address whenever I win something.

        Or not.


          And we have 8 mutual friends :O *le gasp*

        u guys use ur real names and link to facebook here, how is it different?


          That's the joke.jpeg

          Sarcasm is lost on you :p

          That was the joke...


          It's a trap!

          oh thats simple here you aren't having humungous arguements about different things and you aren't playing against each other in anything so your less likely to run accross some crazy person who wants to stab you

          the only reason i use the alinos monkier is because ive been using it for so long that its just natural(even tho most of the people i game with know my real info any ways)


          ...it's not, that's the joke.


          methinks they were joking


          DATS DE JOKE

          I have no sense of humour. I'm crazy and easily offended. And now i have a list of names.

      I write for an amateur (although awesome) gamesite and I've been posting with my real name and a link for quite a while and my forum posts are usually if not always with my real name.

      Between Twitter and Facebook, which i both use, finding out almost everything there is to know about me wouldn't take long at all. But I don't think this is entirely a bad thing, isn't the point of social networking so people can find you?

      As long as you follow Wheaton's law of "Don't be a dick" you don't really have that much to worry about. If it causes a wower to pause momentarily and consider the implications of typing a spew of nasty words in a forum and reconsider posting, I still think RealID is a good thing.

      Please don't stalk me.

        "As long as you follow Wheaton’s law of “Don’t be a dick” you don’t really have that much to worry about."

        Hmmm. . .
        Young girl. Isnt a dick online.
        Has a "pretty sounding voice".
        Gets stalked.
        Has plenty to worry about.

      While i'm not doubting it about the phone call and other information the problem I have is the ip part , how many remember their own ip address off by heart? It could be set up to some degree though I don't doubt people could get this information.

        Postal address man

        Pretty sure it is home address, not IP address.
        It is pretty scary how quickly and easily people can find out things with just a name, it probably won't be a problem for most, but I have no doubt that someone is going to get burned by this system, I just hope it isn't too badly.

    Oh crap, RealID just got real scary and fast. I mean there is bound to be some jackass on the net who will inadvertadly get you fired from work, am i wrong fokes?

      But surely that sort of person wouldn't be hanging around the World of Warcraft forums with too much time on their hands. =P

      So you might say, that RealID...

      [Puts on sunglasses]

      ...Just got real.

        You sir, get a big gold star for how funny that read in my head. Comment of the week.

    My major issue is that even if you keep your ID safe, Blizzard has already got a problem where addons can access that information. So just playing the game at the moment might as well be broadcasting your name to everyone, including the unhinged pychopath who just lost that loot roll or the passive-agressive who gets really angry about you undercutting his auctions by a few copper.

    Privacy should always be opt-out, not opt-in. I think that that is how it will eventually be once Blizzard actually sorts everything out.

    Personally I don't want anyone but people I allow to to be able to get my ID. And if someone does know my ID, I don't want them to be able to see what I'm doing, who my toons are etc, unless they're on my list of friends. Even if I'm posting on the forums with my real name, it shouldn't be possile to hassle me in the game based off that unless I let them. My ID should be a secret between myself, blizzard, and people I specifically share my ID with. That's how it should work, and the fact that it doesn't suggest Blizzard don't know what they're doing.

    This isn't so much about RealID as it is about being cautious with your information online. MV wasn't wrong about RealID, they were wrong about their own use of the Internet.

    I write for street press and got some "lovely" feedback from some disgruntled readers on my Facebook. Luckily I keep my profile private, but I had to make it even more private so only my name can be seen. I still let them send me messages though, hate-mail is pretty invigorating!

      Yeah, I don't see the problem if your Facebook profile is set to private and you only add people on Facebook that you trust.

    If Blizzard go ahead with this then every otehr developer will follow suit.
    And not just gaming, everywhere else will too!

    Remember earlier this year for the SA elections when the government made it mandatory to post your real name when you make political comments?
    Imagine, after a heated political debate, some crazy political fanatic gets your details.
    People have been killed for less!

    I still think RealID is harmless.

    RealID should be a choice, not enforced.

    I, for one, will not be posting on Blizzard forums when they start enforcing this.

    Before someone calls me out for being ironic, i'm comfortable using my real name here because:

    A: Kotaku AU is a fairly small community
    B: From what i've seen by a majority of posters, it'd be quite hard to 'rub someone the wrong way' to the point that they would do something malicious with my information
    C: I wish to be known throughout this community, as I hope to get into video games journalism myself.

    On the other hand, the World of Warcraft community is ENORMOUS, and has all sorts in it, and from what i've seen in my years playing, many people are VERY EASY to tick off in WoW.

    Just reading the article posted in the OP, and he brings this up:


    This is exactly what i mean. You innocently play some warcraft. Lets say you do some arena matches, and you beat a team so badly it knocks them out of their bracket (or whatever, i don't really know how arena PVP works). Or lets say you're in a dungeon and a super rare piece of loot drops. You and some other guy in the party want it. You win the roll. This guy is a mental case, he snaps, looks you up, and six months later drives a screwdriver into your eyesocket.

    No thank you

    The greatest problem of all is that millions of people have trusted Blizzard with their names, addresses and personal info (credit card details), under the veil of privacy, and now Blizzard is handing them out because they're either too fucking lazy or too fucking stupid to moderate their own forums.

    Bang. Privacy gone just because a company has a few trolls on their forums and can't handle them. NegativeZero is right. If you believe that privacy is unimportant to you, then go ahead choose to give out your real name. If it is important, allow us to CHOOSE to keep it secret. It's. Our. Choice.! Not a companies'.

    Fuck Blizzard.

      "and now Blizzard is handing them out because..."

      By that I mean just the names, obviously.

    By not listening to their key stakeholders, Blizzard have seriously shot themselves in the foot. They need some serious work in their PR department.

    I don't mind a bit of sport, a chance to follow some game and watch them in their natural environment behind the bushes.

    I've seen a lot of fallout over this in the last few days. Now I don't use Facebook or Social Networking and I like to remain anon.

    I have no problem with me picking one Character or one Name and posting all my info on that, so everyone knows that I am Terasai of Lothar (Yes that is my real account, although not currantly active) but I don't want them to know I'm Bob Smith who lives at 123 fake st, 4000 Brisbane.

    Although I doubt us Aussies are going to go stab somebody over a loot drop I feel happier and safer being anonymous.

    And here's a point, Don't Blizzard tell people to prevent fraud not to give their real name out so people can't hack their account. Since WoW is big buisness; and where there is big buisness their is big money; and where there is big money their is crime and therefore people interested in getting that money.

    Just saying those hackers who transfer gold and stuff must be rubbing their hands together with glee. Yeah I'm Bob Smith of 123 Fake st 4000 Brisbane, I lost my password and can't get into my account what is it again?

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