More Privacy Issues With Battle.net Real ID
Since Blizzard announced Real ID for Battle.net, many players have been up in arms about concerns over privacy and their personal information (ie. their first and last name).
Blizzard has made an announcement today about new Real ID privacy features that are available:
We’d like to make you aware of the new Real ID-related privacy options we’ve introduced to Battle.net. These options provide Real ID users with additional tools for customizing the service based on their preferences, enabling the ability to opt in or out of the Real ID “Friends of Friends” and “Add Facebook Friends” features or to turn off Real ID altogether.
Real ID offers an optional, convenient way for keeping in touch with real-world friends you know and trust, whether they’re playing World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, or one of our future games. The “Friends of Friends” and “Add Facebook Friends” features provide you with even more options to stay connected while you play by making it easier for real-life friends to locate each other on Battle.net. You can easily enable or disable these features through your Battle.net privacy settings by logging in to your Battle.net account at http://www.battle.net/.
On the surface it seems fine to include these privacy settings, but where players are having a problem is in the fact that you have to opt-out of them, rather than opt-in.
By default, should friends of friends and Facebook friends be able to see your real name? I think that a reason it is turned on by default is that if it were off, most people probably wouldn’t take the time to go in and enable it. But in matters of privacy, this becomes an area where people become very emotional about application settings.
Just look at Facebook and the amount of heat they have gotten over privacy recently. People do not want to feel that their personal information, and their identity, are being freely given out to the world. In this day and age where spammers, hackers and the like, are using technology to exploit privacy, I can understand the concern.
Now, a first and a last name is not necessarily enough information for anyone to do something like empty your bank account, but there is a heightened level of sensitivity to this issue due to people believing that the possibility is there.
The features themselves for seeing friends of friends and Facebook friends is nice for increasing the social aspect of the game, and therefore allowing you to add new friends that you might not have known were using Real Id.
My two cents: don’t get too alarmed over this. If you don’t like the settings, by all means turn them off, but remember that while it might be possible, it is unlikely that a friend of your friend is looking to turn first and last names into major privacy theft.
If you would like to turn the features off you can do so by logging into your Battle.net account –> Settings –> Communication Settings