Discussion in 'other security issues & news' started by ronjor, Oct 13, 2005.
I would say Blizzard have done exactly the right thing by their players.
For those that have played online games, there is nothing worse than another character using hacks/cheats/radar etc.
Btw, did anyone read the associated links ? Blizzard alleges the author of the article is well known for writing hacks for games.
" I watched the warden sniff down the email addresses of people I was communicating with on MSN, the URL of several websites that I had open at the time, and the names of all my running programs, including those that were minimized or in the toolbar. These strings can easily contain social security numbers or credit card numbers, for example, if I have Microsoft Excel or Quickbooks open w/ my personal finances at the time.
Once these strings are obtained, they are passed through a hashing function and compared against a list of 'banning hashes' -- if you match something in their list, I suspect you will get banned. ...
Next, warden opens every process running on your computer. ... I watched warden open my email program, and even my PGP key manager. Again, I feel this is a fairly severe violation of privacy, but what can you do? It would be very easy to devise a test where the warden clearly reads confidential or personal information without regard. "
If the information is in fact correct then this could only be considered spyware. An UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES IS SPYWARE ACCEPTABLE!
What alarms me most...at this time....is that it appears that some Users of this spyware find it acceptable. How can this be ? Have we reached a point in time when a Game Player gives up his/her self respect and dignity just to play a game? Has the time arrived when the Player of a Game places his/her desire to play a game ABOVE the privacy of millions of innocent people?
An if this is the case...an anyone anywhere is so willing to give up his/her rights to privacy and a life of dignity that freedom provides........then we have sunk to the very bottom of the cesspool.
So? I'm sure he has some motivation for doing this, but the facts are not in dispute and don't change whoever did the whistle blowing, Blizzard is using spyware.
If you wish to apply the term spyware to a program that verifies that a person is not cheating, that is up to you. For those that value playing a game without people ruining the game by cheating, such programs are valuable. Certainly people have a choice whether or not they wish to play a game that runs such a program.
Would you care to explain how, in your view, self respect and dignity are given up?
I see it this way – by allowing this program to run, I contribute to the quality and enjoyment of the gaming community, providing the community as a whole a great benefit. In this way I show respect to the playing community, and deny those with no respect for the playing community the opportunity to do damage.
A very dignified view wouldn’t you say?
And please forgive the word game, but I noticed your quote can be re-worded to make a very true statement "We have reached a point in time where many a Game Player gives up his/her self respect and dignity just to cheat at a game"....thereby ruining the gaming pleasure of many others.
This is a misleading/erronous statement. If a player does not wish blizzard to verify they aren’t cheating, all they have to do is stop playing the game - ie everyone has a choice. So It's literally impossible for any one player to put their desire to play a cheat free game above any other player…everyone has a choice to play or not to play.
Forgive my facetiousness…but …AMAZING!…preventing people from cheating and thereby providing an enjoyable playing environment to millions of people is the bottom of the Cesspool?
As for the so called loss of privacy - the article says that the program scans program titles/URL's etc for keywords, which is then compared against a keyword database (a computer) at Blizzard…and unless a keyword sets off an alarm, nothing else ever happens (the article also says this, but in a roundabout way).
Basically, if you aren’t cheating, then Blizzard doesn't know anything about what’s on your computer, and the 4.5million customers gain an enjoyable playing environment, where cheats aren’t welcome.
Basically if you arent evil, you don't mind the government reading your emails, logging all the webpages you visit, all the posts you make... etc..
The ends does not justify the means.
And even if it did, the main thing is Blizaard was caught doing it, without warning the users!
I don't think anyone here is suggesting that Blizzard shouldn't stop people from cheating, and I don't think it's a good idea to try and turn the argument that way.. it's NEVER that black and white.
There are always better ways to do these things, this kind of invasive monitoring is not the only way. What if some malware writer picks up on this and hacks the component to send all that info to them? This could set a very dangerous precident.. what's next, and 10 steps past that? IMO we should never become complacent about these kinds of things, we do not need to sacrifice privacy for security, period. That's the easy way out. One could similarly argue that we need government controlled cameras in every house to control crime, and we don't want to let criminals ruin our daily lives, do we? Of course it's fair, because only the criminals have anything to hide. If you don't like it, move to another country!
Seriously though, if we had this kind of monitoring on every computer, we could stop every kind of computer crime there is, from malware to terrorism.. just imagine how much better our lives would be! If you don't like it, don't use a computer!
Had a reread of the post. It's damned cleverly worded. Caught me out on a couple of assumptions too.
I quite agree. If you the read the article, and filter out the hype...warden seems to work this way :
1.'reads headers/urls etc'
2. is a program that runs/calculates on your computer
3. Only alerts blizzard if a cheat keyword is located
....The article specifically does not state that any of this scanned information is sent to Blizzard (and given the nature of the article, he absolutely would have mentioned it)...and then goes on to call the program benign...combined together, this implies, almost to the point of certainty, that Blizzard knows NOTHING about what's on your computer, unless a cheat keyword is activated (So if you don't cheat, you lose no privacy at all)
Benign means it doesn’t do anything/is passive/is not harmful.
Nowhere in the article does it say Warden reads your emails, nor your posts. It does say it scans webpages you visit. Nowhere does it say it logs any information <funnily enough, your ISP does do everything you mentioned>. The article also implies no information is sent out about this unless a cheat keyword is found.
Apart from the numerous inaccuracies in your quote of what warden can and can't do...the very basic premise of such a comparison also does not work, on a very major difference :
-You are trying to compare an involuntarily monitoring over which you have no control (govt monitoring) against a monitoring over which you have control (you turning WoW on)
In the context of your quote - We do already do have this type of software on every computer -Antiviruses etc <although if you are refering to Govt monitoring, then see above>. AV’s scan all our programs and look for Malware signatures, and don’t alert unless they find one. Blizzards warden scans all our running programs and looks for keywords, and doesn’t alert unless it finds one. The difference of course, is AV’s scan much deeper than Warden, and they alert us to malware we didn’t mean to install, while Warden scans only headers etc, and alerts Blizzard only to malware we did mean to install (malware in the second instance because it is malicious to others)
I quite agree. That said, you obviously apply a negative connotation to the meaning of the word 'means' in this article, while I don’t.
No, they simply completely ignored this until pointed out, and even afterwards...still attempt to ignore any benefit while hyping up a program (warden) that amounts to minimal to no 'invasion of privacy'.
Who’s making anything black and white? As I said, those criticising Warden completely ignored the great benefit Warden provides to Blizzards gaming community. They also seem to ignore that this program is benign unless you are cheating.
Out of curiosity, do the people who are replying that it’s wrong even play multiplayer online games ? If you don’t, then, never having experienced what I’m talking about, it would be quite hard for a person to have an objective view about such things <not saying you can’t play mulitplayer online games and still disagree with Warden>
Personally, given a choice between playing the same multiplayer online game with a program like warden running (so long as its compulsory if you want to play the game), and playing the same game without such a program running...I'll play the Warden enhanced game any day.
Edit : admittedly I don't see the point in knowing url's and some other things they scan, but it appears to be a generic scanner...in which case Blizzard should program it better <unless there are technical security reasons for not doing so>...but it doesn't overly bother me, specifically because warden doesn't appear to communicate with Blizzard unless you are cheating <and if it did, like Ithought previously, that didn't faze me much, because the only output from Blizzards computer would seem to be related to cheat information>
I guess the problem is that on one hand you have evidence that the program scans everything you do and analyzes it, on the other hand you have a game maker trying to ease fears by stating that they don't have any interest in your personal info. Their intentions aren't really what's in question here as a precident being set.. that it's becoming OK for companies to install programs that monitor what you do to ensure compliance with their rules. Why not set something on the server that analyzes the commands you send to the game instead, searching for cheat strings or something of that sort? Yes, of course that would be harder to do than putting something on your computer that monitors all that you do, most likely even when you're not in the game. Imagine PunkBuster putting something on your system that looks to see if you ever do or have installed ProcessGuard.. after all, cheaters use it, so it would help to ensure a better playing experience in case you're using some unknown code to hide it. Look at Star-Force as an example. They faced a very tough problem in making a system to crack-proof gaming software, but rather than take an easy way of monitoring user behavior (which they obviously have the technology to do, if you look at Safe'n'Sec), but instead just made a system that's very tough to beat. Sure, it may cause problems with compatibility on some people's machines, but what software doesn't? They were able to do so without infringing on your privacy or security.
Again, nobody is questioning that they need to do something to curb cheating, I don't even think many really question Blizzard Entertainment themselves. But if everyone reaches the conclusion that this is just fine, others will start.. and then startups will get ideas or write sloppy code, just as with other types of software development. Maybe it seems like previous posts in this threat are jumping to extremes, but if you really think about it.. imagine the worst cast scenario, take a look at what's going on, and compare it with the rest of the spyware scene, and I honestly don't think it's that great of a leap in logic. Honestly, though, trying to discredit the guy's findings by character assasination leaves a lot to be desired.
Thanks for the sensible reply Notok.
I understand the concerns about the precedent, and yes it would be a worry to some degree. I for one, would not at all be against a law requiring companies that use this sort of software to have a installation popup dedicated soley to saying something like...
I also agree that another way would lessen peoples concerns. I don't know anything much about programming, so can't really make an informed judgement on what's the best way to achieve a cheat free environment.
Hey, I could be wrong, but if I read the PG forums correctly, Punkbuster won't let people with PG on their computer play...and there's only one way that I can think of that they can know that.
Point is that there are plenty of other ways that they could do it. Even if they just had something that blocked certain types of code from being used on the system and reported to the server if it was triggered.. these ideas are just off the top of my head, imagine if someone dedicated themselves to the task, with the motivation of being paid to do so, and with actual programming knowledge. Instead it looks like they went with the quickest way to do it.. and that's ultimately no benefit to the users.. I'm sure it will be worked around in no time, and you'll be having your activities monitored for little to no gain.
You've got plenty of users that allow spyware to be (knowingly) installed along side freeware apps as well.. they've come to accept it as a trade-off for getting the software free. Does that make spyware bundles OK?
I don't think it's quite as simple as that. From what I understand of Radar for example, it's a program on the client computer that interprets data that would otherwise be hidden from the client (eg the location of enemies etc)...in other words, no code is sent to Blizzard (or whoever), it's all done client side.
From my experience in playing Dark Age of Camelot (I've played WoW too), Radar is the single most irritating cheat in the game - for everyone...and WoW has moved quite substantially towards Realm vs Realm warfare (though not as much as DAoC was).
As for spyware being bundled with freeware, that's a subjective question that I can't really answer, because :
-we would be getting into the question of 'what is spyware' <I presume what you are really refering to is adware...so you see what I mean>; and
-the people who knowingly install it feel its a fair trade <unless they've been mislead of course>, and I don't see any alternative but to respect their choice.
Given that you hold this position it's no wonder you defend Blizzard. You need to learn about something called the slippy slope argument.
One day you will wake up and find that you are pratically forced to be spyed on by advertisers , software vendors, the government unless you choose not to use a computer.
ROTFLH. So that makes it better? So you don't mind if antiviruses start monitoring all the processes on your computer, reading the websites you visit and report to the antivirus companies and government FBI only if it seems that your computer is used for terrorism? They won't alert unless they find something of course.
OOps, I just accidently hit a website on terrorism, which happens to be one of the blacklist flags it's looking for, so it sends information about how long you were there, how you went there, etc etc to the FBI. Then it's okay?
Or, say you make a joke about blowing up the whitehouse in an email, an your AV which is queit all the time flags this and send it off to the FBI....
Sure, they have easier means to do all that, but having something spying on your computer is much better... For example you could stop email snooping by pgp.
According to you, the "means" in this case is okay? Because by your argument, they don't send any information unless it matches what they are looking for? Yes.. I feel much safer now
Interesting...would you care to specify exactly what position you think it is that I hold ?
The quote of mine you supplied actually says I hold no position on it, because it was a question that was impossible to define, and because I respect peoples ability to make up their own mind on the issue of freeware/adware bundles.
I don't use freeware/adware bundles myself.
So please explain what position it is you think I hold in relation to freeware/adware bundles
I'm likely more familiar with this argument than you are. It's one part of my job. I've seen more people fall down the slippery slope than I care to have seen. I've seen the positive and negative effects on society of both self interest groups, and govt laws <it is my opinion the govt has a lot to answer for, but that's a different subject altogether>.
You keep bringing up comparisons that bare a resemblance to warden only on the very surface, The actual substance of your comparison bares no resemblance.
All your comparisons involve an involuntary monitoring (eg govt monitoring) vs voluntary (warden). And general computer use (everything) vs specific computer use (Wow). Neither of these comparisons are remotely similar. One we don't have a choice, the other we do.
Unfortunately the rest of your post keeps rehashing this incompatible comparison, so there's little point in responding to each item by repeating myself over and over.
If you can't give a logical/sensible reason (or comparison) that actually holds water, then I can't see (and obviously you can't see/articulate) exactly what it is you're complaining about.
As far as I can see, it comes down to these two things
1. if no one ever finds out what's on your computer, then you have lost no privacy. This is unarguable fact.
2. You have a choice to run warden/WoW. Not running WoW/warden does not deny you the ability to do any other activity at all. Please address this issue without making misleading comparisons to things that you have no choice in.
Throwing up hysteria, making false assumptions about people, and flinging mud in the absence of any logical/comparable argument...
That aside :
I'm fairly sure you'll find this already happens, but webside, not clientside.
This one likely happens as well. But it's not just the FBI, but your Dept of Defense that has an interest in such stuff.
There are also places set up for the sole purpose of intercepting everyones phone calls...I presume they are run through hashing programs. Australia has one at Pine Gap I believe, and I understand that America also has one of them...likely other western countries also.
If you then come to the interest of Govt, there are satellites imagery.
The FBI has a facial recognition program that can pick a person out, whether they are wearing disguises or not. It was used as far back as the LA Olympics, but I understand it was 'banned' shortly after that...however, i've no doubt it's still in use (that's the program you see on cop shows, only it can be applied to any digital media, not just police mugshots). Most major cities have security camera's all over the place in their city centres.
Your cellphone is constantly sending to the nearest phone tower...making it possible to track almost exactly where you are, just as if you were carrying a homing beacon on you.
Your ISP records every website you visit (unless you are using an encrypted and anonymous proxy).
Every credit/debit transaction of yours is recorded.
Google etc record every search string entered. Govt's no doubt have programs searching for certain text strings being sent over the internet.
All your 'official records' are of course already kept by govt. These include
-family wife/children/parents/siblings etc
-I'm sure there's more
I don't understand why you're looking at this as such a singular issue, Vikorr. One game is not of concequence to much of anyone. But do we really want game developers monitoring our systems? Do you really think it will stop here? Do you also not think that there are better ways of handling problems with cheaters? Let your mind wander a bit, think of how this situation will evolve as the cat-and-mouse game progresses, and think of how much more accepting the dramatic examples given become more acceptable as everything is taken one little bit at a time. The gap between Blizzard's warden and outright spyware (not just adware) is really not that far off, it's only the intent behind the program.. and do you really put that much faith in corporations with little to no transparency?
All Blizzard would really need to do is invest some more time and effort into creating a better solution. In doing so they could resolve any conflict of interest, and I'd bet anything that solution would be a far more effective one. Everyone would win, and they could set the record straight. If they can't tell you the details of what it does, you have to question the effectiveness of the warden in the first place.. of course, they could always just spend some time hardening the code of the game itself, and not let you access the server without having installed the patch.. but that would be too hard.
Good question. To the first, I asked myself just that before deciding that warden was a good program in my view. If the proper question was purely monitoring, then I’d say no, but it’s not so simple. It’s more along the lines of :
1. What is the nature of that monitoring
2. Does Blizzard know what I do on my computer
3. What would happen if they weren't monitoring
4. Does the benefit outweigh the negative
The answers in my view, are fairly obvious from what I’ve written
…actually, yes - such things are driven by market pressure. If a company stands to lose millions (and WoW subscription would earn Blizzard about $600 MILLION per year), then they’d have a very great interest in not doing anything that would cost them even 5% of subscribers (which would literally cost them $30 million)
You asked why I look at it as a singular issue. This is the main reason - gaming companies stand to lose vast amounts of money if people don't like what they are doing. They simply go elsewhere.
Well, I’ve already pointed out the problems with radar software. The only other way I could see to stop that would be to have a high level encryption engine, which may or may not slow down a game <unfortunately, in any realm vs realm game, even half a second can be too long a delay>. The main problem though is, as I said, I don’t know anything about programming, so it may or may not be possible to do it differently, and I wouldn’t know.
Warden certainly has similarities to spyware. <almost none to adware, that was a different debate really>. To the second part of your question, I see it coming down to comercial realities again.
I agree that it would be better doing it another way, and more than likely they can…but that’s just a guess on my part - as once again, I don’t know if it’s possible.
You are joking right? In any case, what you type below shows you have no understanding of what it means.
Sigh,That's how you slip down a slope! Are you sure you speak english?
Again, go look up the meaning of what slippery slope means. With people like you supporting Blizaard, eventually it will be okay for MS to spy on you , not that they haven't already. It will be okay for any game to spy on you, for any software to monitor what you are doing to "enforce the EULA", yes it will be voluntary, but as Notok says voluntary if you don't use a computer.
Vikorr, you really need to wake up and understand that this is not just about gaming. Your hatred of online cheating blinds you to the danger. You claim you know about slippery slopes, but you keep looking at this only from a narrow perceptive. That is what Notok and I are trying to tell you.
And what happened to the slippery slope? Oh you forgot about it.
Oh sure it will stop, when people like you say it's okay by any means to stop online cheating. That if the ends is good enough, any means is okay.
Can't you see how stupid your defense of warden is on the grounds that it only sends to the server if it spots something? A keylogger designed to steal a specific password also stays quiet until it spots something on it's blacklist (as you call it lol), and sends to its server, so it's okay?
Server side you mean. But you can handle that with Tor, PGP whatever. But if they start bugging your computers, which you think is okay.....
LOL, you are saying all this as if it will impress me. Remember who's paranoid here? So the great vikkor who knows all this, thinks because of this we should give up?
Does that mean because all of this it's okay to let software companies do the same? Great! Cos MS/government spys on us already, let's allow each software company whom we install software to spy on us as well.
Let's make it easy for the FBI, let's put video cameras over our shoulders.
Seriously, I don't know what you are trying to argue here.
Ladies and Gentemen, enough of the personal attacks or you will find this thread closed.
Unfortunately you wish to keep making assumptions about what I think, not one of which have been correct so far.
I have no hatred of cheats. I simply find that life is much more pleasurable without them.
Nor have I ever felt the need to impress yourself nor anyone else that I can think of. What would be the point? The list was simply to make a point of what we live with every day in this world. Most of that list is fact - but for the web and phone intercepts I am only "fairly certain."
As for the slippery slope argument - aside from the fact I work with it, and see how it works - I have named many reasons why it isn't applicable to warden, and also pointed out the many inconsistancies in your comparisons and arguments, yet you have chosen to not to address a single one of those inconsistencies/weaknesses.
And unfortunately I have not seen an argument of yours against warden that has gone beyond 'labelling' in substance; or incompatible comparisons.
When you choose to ignore such inconsistancies in your argument, put words in other peoples mouths, and resort to calling names...at this point it then seems to me pointless to continue any form of discussion with you.
Notok, none of this applies to you. I've found your comments sensible, and I thank you for respecting my views.
Right, but they aren't going to lose anything if everyone thinks it's acceptable. Timing is everything, as long as they build up slowly nobody will take notice. That's the point. Your argument is that this kind of behavior is just fine, as long as it's just fine there will be no market loss, and they will be able to push that line forward bit by bit, especially if this tactic is used by other game companies as well. Other than loss of customers, is there anything else that makes you think that this won't evolve into something that could potentially grow out of our control?
You don't need to be a programmer to theorize about the possibilities. They could make something that only blacklists certain programs, they could filter the traffic to their servers, they could patch vulnerabilities in the game and not allow access until you've patched, they could more closely/thouroughly see how the game itself is being modified, they could make some kind of firewall that only allows the [unmodified] game to connect out while you're playing (this seems like a good idea to me anyway).. the possibilities are endless. In the world of computers, they could make an anti-tampering 'shell' for the game (think Star-Force), the posibilities are always endlesss, and for any given problem there are always more than one solution. I've said it before and I'll say it again, this tactic is taking the lazy way out. There have always been problems with adware/spyware that's poorly coded and ends up being hacked and turned into serious spyware, given that they couldn't fix their game so that this couldn't happen, I have a lot of doubt that warden was written any better.
The question is why should we accept this approach and not demand a better one with no room for doubt?
The point that what we live with every day? Relevance? Are you implying that means what blizzard does is okay? If not, what?
Your defense is, Warden is different. Of course it's different, it's the beginning of the slippery slope! You can assert all you like about your work, but you clearly don't know what it means.
And again, as I pointed out what Warden doesn't isn't benign just because it lies quietly and waits until it spots something worth sending to the server. Keyloggers do that, are they benign? I notice you don't answer this.
It's clear to everyone here, you don't know what slippery slope means. Of course the comparision is not exact.
Notok is polite, but he's saying the same thing as I'm saying.
Get it? Slippery slope.
Notok, you argue that as long as people find this acceptable, that it will grow in use…and worry that it will eventually become so commonplace that it could be included in everything?
To me that is also saying that somehow this will go from a single use, specific instant/purpose program to being a general purpose spyware used for all programs.
The slippery slope argument in this case relies on the argument that people are unable to be selective, intelligent decisions on what is acceptable.
It relies on the argument that if people use it on one program that they may find it easier to accept on another program, and then another, and then another, until the computer won't run without such programs. But at each and every stage you are relying on the argument that people are unable to sensibly decide what is right and wrong on their computer.
I think people are knowledgable and very aware about such an important issue (privacy) in our society as yourself, others, multiple laws, civil liberties groups, the media and other organisations will attest to. I think that they can make thoughtful and intelligent decisions on what is and isn't acceptable (and no doubt different people will reach different decisions, and fair enough).
I would argue that programs such as warden will remain rare, simply because they are svery pecific purpose programs used in a narrow field, and provide a benefit to that narrow field that they can't provide elsewhere (the only other one that I know of, in a different genre, that is 'remotely' similar is Prevx home/1)
By the way, thre’s two different types of general purpose spyware you could be talking about when discussing the above, which would causal factors would be somewhat different :
1. Govt spyware : This would require them to pass laws allowing them to do this.
2. Complete Private Enterprise bundle program/spyware :
Interesting. Now you are also disagreeing with the ‘expert’ who’s views you are using as the foundation of your argument. Funnily enough the ‘expert’ you are relying on says its benign. I’ve already listed the reasons I agree with him on this point. Where are your reasons?
I didn’t answer because it seemed just so obvious just how completely different keyloggers are. Their sole purpose in normal terms, is to steal your banking information, your money, passwords, or your identity.
You don’t get it do you. Notok is applying reason based arguments, and questions. He shows that he knows why he believes what he believes. You simply label things with no reasoning involved, and throw up comparisons that aren’t comparable, and call names…so you actually make no point at all.
And Notok displays manners, yes.
As I said :
1.Blizzard doesn’t know anything about me
2. Warden keeps the game clean (or cleaner)
So specifically in relation to the warden program, what have I to worry about ? There is no invasion of privacy <which can’t happen unless people at Blizzard are told something of me>. The same goes for every player except cheaters. And the playing community gains a great benefit.
Some issues of The slippery slope argument was address in the first paragraphs. Aside from that, The slippery slope argument is an interesting one, because it can be applied to many things : Firearms, freedoms/rights, laws, litigation, social welfare, foreign aid, drugs, alcohol, multiculturalism, religion, and probably numerous other things I can’t think of off the top of my head just now (and no, I’m not going to discuss these, as most relate to politics or religion, unless you want to PM me anyway)
You wanted to know the point of that list : It shows how much is known about you, how much is monitored, and it is all involuntary… but that there is a benefit to it, that the community (in general terms) accepts, and therefore allows (in general terms).
Warden doesn’t even come close to any single one of that list. Yet, it’s not a list to say whether warden is right or wrong <that can only be based on wardens merits, not the merits of other things> - the list simply puts what we are arguing about in perspective (the list actually started though, because you mentioned two things as if they aren’t being done, that I ‘believe’ is being done)
I use the phrase In General Terms, because of course, not everyone accepts everything. It’s the way democracies work.
Why not? Bilzzard did it and everyone seemed to think it's ok, so why not another game? Then why not other softwares? I'm not saying that this would happen overnight, but the trend I'm seeing more and more is just this kind of thing - monitoring for security.. as long as you're not one of "the bad guys" you have nothing to worry about. Nevermind that there are better ways, this is the most effective. If warden had been introducted a few years ago, do you think people would be as accepting? How about 10 years ago? It verges on being a power issue, which doesn't belong in the arena of computer games. It also raises questions of the security of the module itself.. this has been an issue with other similar programs that have since been deemed a very bad idea for just that reason.
Will people make intelligent decisions for themselves? I suppose that depends on a lot of things. I doubt the majority of WoW users have even really know or care how it works. Many that do will want to believe that it's harmless, because they want to play their game more than they want to worry about privacy.. much the same as the recent article that found that the majority of users will trade their passwords for a candy bar... and that's the crux; most people don't care. The fact of the matter is that people largely tend to look to eachother when making decisions. If there's any question, they will look at how the guy next to them is reacting. If the guy next to him, and the guy next to him, and so on, are all just playing away not worrying about it, then obviously you would be silly to worry about it. This carries all the way into life threatening situations where at least one study showed that if people are in a movie theatre and there's a fire, people won't panic or leave if others are just ignoring it. What's a matter of a small program doing a little monitoring compared to something that's literally life or death?
The bottom line for me is that there's a lot of scarry stuff going on in regards to monitoring. This little program may seem insignificant in comparison, but this is exactly how it all becomes socially acceptable.. by working it into your entertainment. If Blizzard can pass this off without any bad press, then there will be nothing to deter any other company from doing the same. Maybe it won't be used in everything, but at what point does it become unacceptable? All too often, when it's too late.
Separate names with a comma.