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Bloggers attack Real ID by exposing Activision head's personal data

Social networking is a hot topic, and super-developer Blizzard recently announced a new social networking system called Real ID, which we've reported on earlier. On its face, Real ID seems quite useful, enabling you to keep track of friends even if they have multiple characters. There is only one tiny problem – you need to use your real name. Blizzard has stated publically that this is meant to be a measure against trolling, the theory being that trolls won’t be as likely to cause trouble if they’re not protected by anonymity.

Unsurprisingly, the internet is not fond of the idea.

Real names, many folks believe, give up way too much information. One Blizzard employee, in an attempt to prove that Real ID will not be a privacy problem, posted his full name, Micah Whipple, as a challenge. Soon after, a blog post on WoW Riot appeared listing Micah’s address, phone number, age, and more. Micah has now taken down his Facebook profile.


Above: Say hello to Micah. He’s on the left.

Ah, but it doesn’t end there. A new blog, called “What’s in a Name” has been created in protest of the Real ID system. On it you can find the personal information of various Blizzard and Activision employees, including information about Bobby Kotick and his wife Nina Kotick. Did you know that Bobby Kotick’s oldest child, Gracie, is eleven years old and likes to ski?


Above: Exposing your real name also exposes the names of your friends and family. And, rightly or wrongly, places them in the line of fire.

The ultimate irony of this situation is that Blizzard has finally given the trolls a valid point. Publishing the information of Blizzard and Activision employees is more than a little creepy, but it also serves the purpose of exposing the flaws in the Real ID system. Your name is a key, and it can be used to track you down.

Now the ball is in Blizzard’s court. As outrage over Real ID spreads it seems only matter of time until everyone on Blizzard’s payroll has had his or her information posted on a blog. Will Blizzard stand fast in the face of the trolls, or acknowledge that real names are a legitimate privacy concern?

Jul 7, 2010

 

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26 comments

  • SkyNet - July 10, 2010 11:32 a.m.

    I'm extremely paranoid about my information on the net. It's why all of my emails have fake names and addresses attached to them and even my Amazon account has a fake name. I try to reveal as little about myself as possible when it comes to dealing with complete strangers. On another note if I ever find out the phone numbers or emails of half the obnoxious dbags I encounter online there will be hell to pay.
  • BSGVader - July 10, 2010 2:26 a.m.

    Hooray! Now the idea won't spread to any other sites... for now.
  • Ded - July 9, 2010 5:11 p.m.

    They pulled out of showing your real name on the forums.. thank goodness :D http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=25968987278&sid=1
  • 8bitBaby - July 9, 2010 5:03 p.m.

    ...what they said ↑↑↑↑ reCaptcha: to unsettle this whole thing is unsettling. try to police the internets, and you will see its true face.
  • WoodyWoodrowAndThePanfluteOfDestiny - July 9, 2010 5:01 p.m.

    Is Chris Antista's sister on there?
  • reverandglass - July 9, 2010 8:10 a.m.

    The only way I see RealId working as a deterant to trolls is the fear of this very sort of invasion of their own privacy. In the end it doesn't matter if it's John Smith or monkeylover34 (apologies if that's your tag) trolling but it DOES matter when John Smith's identity gets stolen or his family are targeted as a result. Someone should remind Blizzard that words don't hurt and let the trolls be childish if they want.
  • mattdark - July 9, 2010 6:29 a.m.

    Thing is, this is proof of the flaw in the system, especially if you combine it with a facebook account that has rather lax privacy settings. But this does show a probkem with the system. You have some people who could use this to track down a person just because of one little thing you say. So its especially easy to see why Trolls would be so against this.
  • CoolBowling - July 9, 2010 6:16 a.m.

    Remind me never to make the internet vengenful towards me.
  • HumanMeatPuppet - July 9, 2010 6:10 a.m.

    he just flew under the radar so he could be Batman. doing this was just a cover
  • AnonymouZ - July 9, 2010 6:06 a.m.

    and masturbaby, you'll forgive me for not reading comments first as i type mine x)
  • AnonymouZ - July 9, 2010 6:02 a.m.

    i must say i saw this coming a MILE away. when i thought full names on the interwebs? 4chan ppl know how to use only your last name... tsk tsk. i lul at blizzard/activision for not thinking this too hard. i mean... have they BEEN on the internet? it's ridiculous... ridiculous i tell ya... but this article made me lul too xD
  • Amnesiac - July 9, 2010 6:01 a.m.

    Even if there really isn't anything to worry about, I'm very, very uncomfortable with being required to give personal information to potentially thousands of people. This only proves how easy it is for people to find you with a very small amount of information. I see this as either having its intended effect of curbing trolling and then posing a potential security risk to forum users, or not posing much of a risk, but then negating the whole point since trolls would still remain relatively anonymous.
  • NotBraze - July 9, 2010 5:07 a.m.

    I'd hardly call these people trolls, I'd say that they're taking drastic measures to counteract a dangerous situation, and if it get's Blizzard to pull their heads out of their butts than I'll be a "troll" too!
  • ChiefLethal - July 9, 2010 5:02 a.m.

    Edit to my post above: That should be "good games", instead of "god games", at the end there. @BSGVader Probably. I've heard many such stories, though i don't recall if it was on Tdar. There have been other stories of people actually being stabbed in a 'net cafe during a counter-strike match or something similar. probably in China. Hopefully Blizzard's assumptions about their community are right.
  • BSGVader - July 9, 2010 4:54 a.m.

    Was it on the TalkRadar podcast where they (Brett, Antista etc...) talked about a guy that tracked down his Counter Strike rival and literally, as in the real world, attempted to kill him in cold blood? Granted, they only lived a few miles apart, but if it becomes far easier to find out where someone lives would this occur more often? Here is the article:http://gamersyndrome.com/2010/pc/pc-games/counter-strike-player-plots-murder-rival-gamer/
  • ChiefLethal - July 9, 2010 4:54 a.m.

    From what i can tell, this only should only have a negative impact if you keep private information on other publicly accessible profiles. Keep any private information on facebook or myspace profiles to a minimum, which any sensible person should be doing in the first place. Keep in mind that this information is available WHETHER OR NOT Realid is implemented (which it will be, i realize this). Now my opinion on what Blizz is doing with Realid: "No sir, I don't like it" Not that i have any specific issues with Realid itself. I don't think it will have as large negative impact as everyone thinks (and if it does, its kind of the users fault). However, making something like this mandatory is straight-up Orwellian. The only instance in which i could side with something like this, is if it were optional. Let us opt out. I think its the least Blizzard can do for their loyal fans (like me) who have been playing their games since the second fucking grade (like me. im 24, by the way). But more importantly than any of the above, is how much i wish Blizzard would just focus on making god games. All this other flashy shit they keep adding... well, i don't like it. I want my old Blizzard back.
  • superrey19 - July 9, 2010 4:11 a.m.

    So what if people know my basic information? Oh know you know my age!
  • 510BrotherPanda - July 9, 2010 3:58 a.m.

    If this goes on, the Kotick kids will be in those crap ads for... NEW! HOT! FREE SEXY CAM NOW! FEEL GOOD FEELING!... and whatever else.
  • CrashmanX - July 9, 2010 3:56 a.m.

    I have to laugh at this hard, what are the people so afraid of? What are you afraid of people finding out. Ya know, if you use Facebook you might as well be totally OK with this. Hell I have my Facebook account linked to my GamesRadar account and many others.
  • JohnnyMaverik - July 9, 2010 3:52 a.m.

    Forcing users to make public private information, even if it is only their name (which can, as we can see, quite useful if you want to troll somebody, or more sinister even...) is a lot worse than a few trolls. I rather face the trolls behind a vale thanks, as well as keeping them out in the open safety where we can see them.

Showing 1-20 of 26 comments

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