Tuesday, September 11, 2012

WoW- Barcodes In Your Screenshots?

*Tinfoil hat is ON! * Stay away from my screenshots!

Can you imagine it? Barcodes in your WoW screenshots, or rather, watermarks that could possibly hold information such as account name, IP address (server?) and other sensitive information. Have you heard about it? It's a topic going around and it is rather disturbing. Sure, I can vaguely try to understand why this was ever implemented, but I still don't think any reasons trump account security compromises to your customers, if it is indeed true. If it is, you know someone is eventually bound to find out, when they do, you never know who can use that information in ways that could have negative affects, I mean didn't blizzard recently have a breach of security? Could things like this be linked? Supposedly these watermarks are only in a certain quality of screenshot, also, only screenshots from after the Blizzard/Activision merge. Makes you think.

It is pretty creepy to even think that a company would even want to 'track' customers through screenshots, or even to really dig up reasons why. A gaming company at that- but they have in the past and still continue to. We all know about Warden, which monitors what we do in the background while running Blizzard games. I always thought this was a huge breach of privacy. There is also the Governor, a third party program, which can monitor what Warden does, but not everything. You can read about them here.

With a huge grip on the gaming industry I suppose a company like Blizzard feel like they have the power to do as they like. I mean they already did with Warden, why not with watermarks? Is it really that far out there? All I can say is 'With great power comes great responsibility.' All in all at the end of the day it creeps me out, especially as a blogger who shares tons of pictures, even if I am not using the resolution required to read all the information it still bothers me to think it could be there. I'll leave you to come to your own conclusion about it all. Feel free to share your thoughts.

You can read first hand just exactly how these watermarks were found, much more information, straight from the horses mouth here, along with a lengthy discussion (image up top found from link). Thought it was worth passing on.

Edit- Massively and WoW Insider have articles on the topic, they claim that these watermarks fine and there is nothing to worry about, but I've not read any conclusive reasons either way. Doesn't mean I have to like information being coded into my screenshots, does it? *takes tinfoil hat off*

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