Star Trek Online - PWE, Online Privacy and You

ipkrisipkris Registered User
If you play Star Trek Online, you are probably perfectly familiar with the name "Butts", and he requires no introduction. If you don't, then suffice to say that Butts was a longtime member of the STO community with a history of being provocative and controversial. Butts is also banned from Star Trek Online: the reason and (il)legitimacy of his ban is irrelevant to our discussion here and it won't be discussed further.

What will be discussed is how the player who owned the Butts character found out. After taking a sabbatical from the game over christmas, Butts returned to find in-game mails and private tells from other players gloating about his pending ban.

Herein lies the problem: if you're banned, suspended, warned or cautioned, that's covered under the PWE privacy policy. There should be two people in the world who know about it: the person issuing the sanction, and the person receiving it. Other players don't fit into that group. Someone at Perfect World has decided that following the privacy policy is optional.

You know what else is covered by the very same privacy policy that PWE are violating on a whim? Your credit card and personal details. I'd like you to pause a moment and let that sink in. This game was subscription based until quite recently. PWE are still accepting credit card details for microtransactions in game.

Consider: If a member of PWE is prepared to violate Butts' privacy to gloat, what's to stop them violating your privacy for the same reason? Or any other?

This isn't a thin edge of the wedge - this is the hydraulic arbor press. If PWE are allowed to get away with this breach - even once - it cements the view that the privacy policy, which currently protects your privacy, anonymity and your financial details, is a paper tiger.

Take a moment to think about it: How would you feel about someone from PWE deciding that they can get a new flatscreen TV by selling your e-mail address to a mailing list? Your name and address to a direct mailing company? Your banking details to someone intending fraudulent transactions or identity theft?

I urge you all to contact PWE and Cryptic Studios and demand that they delete all personal data they may have collected from you (even that which you volunteered), especially your banking details, until the person or persons responsible for this breach have been fired and the privacy policy is strengthened to avoid a repeat.

I urge you all to demand that the people who accepted and redistributed this data obtained through a breach of privacy receive severe sanctions; account deletion or permanent banning would be appropriate, since who knows what other things (e.g. ships, consoles, weapons, powers, Duty and Bridge officers not available to the general, non-cheating playerbase) they have obtained through this relationship.

I urge you all to refrain from giving PWE any further money - via microtransactions or the steam wallet - until they have acted to ensure that this breathtaking breach of trust is remediated and there can be no risk of repetition.

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