Developing: Epic Games Launcher appears to collect your steam friends & play history (Up2: Valve responds, See Threadmarks)

Vault

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,077
More proof that game journalists are a waste of space

Doing anything to defend Epic is really pathetic
 

eonden

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,234
When there’s no history or evidence of data sharing, and your concern stems from a fear of China, that’s racist.
My fear is not only of China, my fear is of companies tightly related to any dictatorial country with no regard of private information (or heck, any regard of my EU rights). It would be the same if the company was Russian.

Edit: let me clarify. Would I give my data to Tencent? Probably not.
Would I give my data to a company where Tencent has invested? Yes, no problem with that (heck, I participate in Paradox forums and Tencent has a sizeable % of shares of it).
The main issue is most people not knowing that Tencent is quite hands off.
 
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Nome

Designer
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
2,007
NYC
My fear is not only of China, my fear is of companies tightly related to any dictatorial country with no regard of private information (or heck, any regard of my EU rights). It would be the same if the company was Russian.
You seem like a rational dude so I’m not calling you racist here, and plus, I can totally get your concern. But Reddit is a racist cesspool and I have no doubt that the Tencent fear, for most people, is racially motivated.

Also, since it’s been a few pages, I feel like I need to reiterate that I’m not supporting Epic here. But most of what’s been uncovered so far—minus their puzzling (and frankly—idiotic) choice to avoid the Steam API—can be explained away readily through basic industry practices.
 

Arkanius

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,610
When there’s no history or evidence of data sharing, and your concern stems from a fear of China, that’s racist.
Do you think if we mention Winnie the Poo we could get ResetERA in trouble?
Or Free Tibet messages?

This can happen in some places of the world :)

Also, being industry practices is no excuse for shitty behavior.
 

Mentalist

Member
Mar 14, 2019
963
You seem like a rational dude so I’m not calling you racist here, and plus, I can totally get your concern. But Reddit is a racist cesspool and I have no doubt that the Tencent fear, for most people, is racially motivated.

Also, since it’s been a few pages, I feel like I need to reiterate that I’m not supporting Epic here. But most of what’s been uncovered so far—minus their puzzling (and frankly—idiotic) choice to avoid the Steam API—can be explained away readily through basic industry practices.
Do they really need to scan savefile data to get a person's friends list though?

I mean, that's the one aspect of this whole thing that makes it look like industrial espionage (aimed against valve) to me.

Once again, I'm far removed from the world of programming, but when I just try to apply common sense to how they're explaining it, those things don't add up.
 

trashtabby

Member
Oct 25, 2017
545
Going by the top reply, not really. It appears to only be querying if those files exist, and isn't actually collecting any more information from it than that. Why it's doing that, I have no idea, but it doesn't seem like something worth fearmongering about.

As for the other stuff: I'm mostly just confused by why Epic doesn't just use Steam's API. Obviously they shouldn't be collecting all that data, but also, it's all data that Valve is already sharing through their API, so ??????????
 

Absolute

Member
Nov 6, 2017
684
Are Chinese people a race? I didn't know that. I always thought they were an ethnic group in Asia. Unless you are saying people are being racist against Asian people because they don't trust a company that is deeply involved with the dictatorship that runs the country of China? It doesn't make much sense to me anyway. Perhaps you could explain more how it is racist as you are making a serious accusation against people on this site.
 

EloKa

GSP
Verified
Oct 25, 2017
357
As for the other stuff: I'm mostly just confused by why Epic doesn't just use Steam's API. Obviously they shouldn't be collecting all that data, but also, it's all data that Valve is already sharing through their API, so ??????????
Due to the GDPR Valve has restricted the amount of personal data that you can access through their API to a minimum.
"Stealing" directly from the hard disc allows to a) still take that info and b) circumvent privacy settings done on your Steam account eg if you set your account to private then you can't query anything trough the API.
 

m_dorian

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,810
Athens, Greece
When there’s no history or evidence of data sharing, and your concern stems from a fear of China, that’s racist.
You are pushing it. Noone in Resetera could have shown even a glimpse, a hint of racism towards anyone and have their account survive. Especially in heated topics such as this where they are heavily moderated.
I suggest you should drop this accusation.
 

Nome

Designer
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
2,007
NYC
Do they really need to scan savefile data to get a person's friends list though?

I mean, that's the one aspect of this whole thing that makes it look like industrial espionage (aimed against valve) to me.

Once again, I'm far removed from the world of programming, but when I just try to apply common sense to how they're explaining it, those things don't add up.
I made a bunch of posts earlier in this thread about the subject, but here's my take after a lot of thought.
1. I believe Sweeney at face value when he says there's no illegal data snooping (no direct Steam data taken without the user's information).
2. I believe Sweeney at face value when he says there's no Tencent data sharing (based on personal experience working with Tencent).
3. I think Sweeney may be misleading us when he says that they built the Steam-scanning feature to avoid incorporating foreign API code.
4. I think Sweeney may be misleading us when he says that the Steam-scanning feature operates without user permission because it was built quickly and . shoddily.

I think they may have tried to find a legal, loopholey way to gain user insights without asking for permission. I think this is really fucking shitty and scummy, in a long line of shitty, scummy decisions by Epic. That said, I don't think there's anything conclusive.

You are pushing it. Noone in Resetera could have shown even a glimpse, a hint of racism towards anyone and have their account survive. Especially in heated topics such as this where they are heavily moderated.
I suggest you should drop this accusation.
If I had a penny for every time a racist said to my face, "I don't hate your people, just your government", I'd be pretty rich.
 

Lothars

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
3,912
I made a bunch of posts earlier in this thread about the subject, but here's my take after a lot of thought.
1. I believe Sweeney at face value when he says there's no illegal data snooping (no direct Steam data taken without the user's information).
2. I believe Sweeney at face value when he says there's no Tencent data sharing (based on personal experience working with Tencent).
3. I think Sweeney may be misleading us when he says that they built the Steam-scanning feature to avoid incorporating foreign API code.
4. I think Sweeney may be misleading us when he says that the Steam-scanning feature operates without user permission because it was built quickly and . shoddily.

I think they may have tried to find a legal, loopholey way to gain user insights without asking for permission. I think this is really fucking shitty and scummy, in a long line of shitty, scummy decisions by Epic. That said, I don't think there's anything conclusive.


If I had a penny for every time a racist said to my face, "I don't hate your people, just your government", I'd be pretty rich.
1. I don't know how you can believe Sweeney at all and honestly it makes me question your motives in this thread.
2. I am more willing to believe this is all on Epic and has nothing to do with Tencent.
3. and 4. I bet he's doing more than misleading.

There may not be anything conclusive but it seems more than just anything innocent.
 

nynt9

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,354
You seem like a rational dude so I’m not calling you racist here, and plus, I can totally get your concern. But Reddit is a racist cesspool and I have no doubt that the Tencent fear, for most people, is racially motivated.

Also, since it’s been a few pages, I feel like I need to reiterate that I’m not supporting Epic here. But most of what’s been uncovered so far—minus their puzzling (and frankly—idiotic) choice to avoid the Steam API—can be explained away readily through basic industry practices.
So you're saying except for them avoiding industry practices, they've been following industry practices?
 

z1ggy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,213
Argentina
When there’s no history or evidence of data sharing, and your concern stems from a fear of China, that’s racist.
Fear of chinese goverment, not China itself. You are streaching it.

And you know why? Because theres a dangerous trend of capitalism being managed by authoritarian/surveillance IT states.
 

Mudface90210

Member
Oct 29, 2017
92
The comments on that RPS article have been very heavily moderated, i.e. lots of critical posts have been removed since I last looked about an hour ago, none of them were 'toxic'. Think I'm done with that site.
 

Shengar

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,024
Yeah sure, that's racist to have some fear toward a dictatorship lol.
There's a big difference between hating China dictatorship and China itself. Remember it all started with hating on Saddam Hussein then it went downhill. I'm bot saying fear of Chinese government surveillance, espionage and being critical of their despotism is equal to Sinophobe but the way I see it so far across the US internetsphere it follows the exact same pattern as before (US government target a potential hostile other - > trying to picture them as a singke depostic entity). The sign is pretty clear when people keep automatically pointing their finger toward Tencent just because they hold 40% whilst ignoring that Epic still hold pretty much the rest of 60%.

The prejudice against the Chinese company is even more ridiculous because they have been on rocky terms with the CPC government in recent years. Do you forget that they have to pull out Monster Hunter World from their storefront because of regulation? How many money do you think they have lost because of that? As much as the CPC hold iron grips on Chinese government and society, China is not a monolithic entity especially as they are already integrated to the global capitalist market.

This shady data mining is wholly on Epic. Tim Sweeney got enough of being alleged as data harvester for Tencent to the point he won't allowed EGS to be even connected to Chinese IP address. Epic hold the remaining 60% of the share and yet somehow Tencent able to force them to shadily harvest data from users. This is not being cautious or being critical of despotism. This is a goddamned prejudice.
 

Clever Gato

Member
Oct 28, 2017
44
Going by the top reply, not really. It appears to only be querying if those files exist, and isn't actually collecting any more information from it than that. Why it's doing that, I have no idea, but it doesn't seem like something worth fearmongering about.
That's good to know. I hope the current privacy issue is as far as they've gone.
 

Mentalist

Member
Mar 14, 2019
963
I made a bunch of posts earlier in this thread about the subject, but here's my take after a lot of thought.
1. I believe Sweeney at face value when he says there's no illegal data snooping (no direct Steam data taken without the user's information).
2. I believe Sweeney at face value when he says there's no Tencent data sharing (based on personal experience working with Tencent).
3. I think Sweeney may be misleading us when he says that they built the Steam-scanning feature to avoid incorporating foreign API code.
4. I think Sweeney may be misleading us when he says that the Steam-scanning feature operates without user permission because it was built quickly and . shoddily.

I think they may have tried to find a legal, loopholey way to gain user insights without asking for permission. I think this is really fucking shitty and scummy, in a long line of shitty, scummy decisions by Epic. That said, I don't think there's anything conclusive.


If I had a penny for every time a racist said to my face, "I don't hate your people, just your government", I'd be pretty rich.
Thanks for the reply. So, best case (if we take everything Sweeney says at face value), they were negligent in how they implemented a Fortnite feature (not necessarily criminally negligent, ofc). Worst case... well, that's up to personal preference.

FWIW, I don't think anything of the Tencent angle. I feel Epic has enough vested interest in steam-related data themselves
 

karnage10

Member
Oct 27, 2017
864
Portugal
I hope this thread makes people think twice before saying that EGS is good competition to steam. I wish gaming journalists pressure Epic more after this so that epic would be forced to have a healthier mode of competition.
 

Nappael

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,052
As someone who generally likes RPS and PCgamer, and has been disappointed by their coverage recently.

Do we have ANY good outlets for covering PC related topics these days? PCgamesN hasn't been too bad but even they have dropped the ball a little bit, especially with them using Epic sponsored content as proper articles.
 

Tmespe

Member
Oct 27, 2017
241
I made a bunch of posts earlier in this thread about the subject, but here's my take after a lot of thought.
1. I believe Sweeney at face value when he says there's no illegal data snooping (no direct Steam data taken without the user's information).
2. I believe Sweeney at face value when he says there's no Tencent data sharing (based on personal experience working with Tencent).
3. I think Sweeney may be misleading us when he says that they built the Steam-scanning feature to avoid incorporating foreign API code.
4. I think Sweeney may be misleading us when he says that the Steam-scanning feature operates without user permission because it was built quickly and . shoddily.

I think they may have tried to find a legal, loopholey way to gain user insights without asking for permission. I think this is really fucking shitty and scummy, in a long line of shitty, scummy decisions by Epic. That said, I don't think there's anything conclusive.


If I had a penny for every time a racist said to my face, "I don't hate your people, just your government", I'd be pretty rich.
1. Epic is clearly collecting data they do not really need without stating it in a clear manner. In the EU this is most likely illegal.

I agree about the "I just hate your government" argument though. Hating on China and Chinese people is mostly accepted in gaming circles from what I've seen. Not saying anyone here is being racist, but I understand where you're coming from.
 

GhostTrick

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,538
There's a big difference between hating China dictatorship and China itself. Remember it all started with hating on Saddam Hussein then it went downhill. I'm bot saying fear of Chinese government surveillance, espionage and being critical of their despotism is equal to Sinophobe but the way I see it so far across the US internetsphere it follows the exact same pattern as before (US government target a potential hostile other - > trying to picture them as a singke depostic entity). The sign is pretty clear when people keep automatically pointing their finger toward Tencent just because they hold 40% whilst ignoring that Epic still hold pretty much the rest of 60%.

The prejudice against the Chinese company is even more ridiculous because they have been on rocky terms with the CPC government in recent years. Do you forget that they have to pull out Monster Hunter World from their storefront because of regulation? How many money do you think they have lost because of that? As much as the CPC hold iron grips on Chinese government and society, China is not a monolithic entity especially as they are already integrated to the global capitalist market.

This shady data mining is wholly on Epic. Tim Sweeney got enough of being alleged as data harvester for Tencent to the point he won't allowed EGS to be even connected to Chinese IP address. Epic hold the remaining 60% of the share and yet somehow Tencent able to force them to shadily harvest data from users. This is not being cautious or being critical of despotism. This is a goddamned prejudice.

We're talking about Tencent here. Not some kind of small company. How is that hating on China itself ? I mean can we get real for a second, we're heading into dangerous territories now where we accuse other posters of being racists for not being too hot about another HUGE company that is under a dictatorship.
 

m_dorian

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,810
Athens, Greece
If I had a penny for every time a racist said to my face, "I don't hate your people, just your government", I'd be pretty rich.
That is not racism though.
People can still like and respect the Chinese people, their ancient history, tradition and achievements and do not like the Chinese government and its way of running things.
At least here in this very carefully moderated forum.
 
Dec 30, 2018
1,334
When there’s no history or evidence of data sharing, and your concern stems from a fear of China, that’s racist.
The fear comes from a matter of government policy, it has nothing to do with racism.

I would be the first person to join you in condemning it if I thought for one second that was the case.

This conversation about racism from RPS seems like a way to derail and manoeuvre away from what the real issue is here, data privacy.

Most people complaining aren’t even talking about China.

Also, I know for a fact that the moderation is good enough here, so much so that if they even suspected a hint of racism people would be banned and rightly so.
 

Digoman

Member
Oct 27, 2017
223
I personally thing the whole Tencent thing is a distraction. Even if you have suspicions about them because of the China government, Epic has more than enough reason to try get this info for themselves.

It could be Epic, Sony, Microsoft, Valve or any corporation, no software should be snooping around the local files and storing a encrypted copy without asking for permission, and then asking to "trust us, we really, really aren't sending that info on a encrypted connection back to our servers."

The evidence presented in that post isn't enough. This is probably the "hardware survey" that Epic does automatically (per their ToS) that includes your software. Also not a great practice but it got lost in the discussion because of all the other stuff.
 

Zefah

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,677
When there’s no history or evidence of data sharing, and your concern stems from a fear of China, that’s racist.
You deserve to be quoted and shamed to hell and back for this awful post.

There is zero reason why anyone should trust China or its state-backed companies. They do not have good intentions. Your trying to turn that into racism against ethnically Chinese people is some hot nonsense.
 

MrBob

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,385
That Rock Paper Shotgun article, whew. It seems unfinished. Alice didn't even research Tim Sweeney's quotes from Reddit and just dismissed privacy concerns people were bringing up. Disappointing.
 

Armaros

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,131
That Rock Paper Shotgun article, whew. It seems unfinished. Alice didn't even research Tim Sweeney's quotes from Reddit and just dismissed privacy concerns people were bringing up.
Doing research is beneath Games Media, when they can operate on the assumption they are always right

Most of that article is just the writer editorializing about what she thinks about people criticizing Epic
 

Nome

Designer
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
2,007
NYC
You deserve to be quoted and shamed to hell and back for this awful post.

There is zero reason why anyone should trust China or its state-backed companies. They do not have good intentions. Your trying to turn that into racism against ethnically Chinese people is some hot nonsense.
Too bad Tencent is not state-backed.
And if you're going to imply that all Chinese companies are state-backed next... well, you're proving my point then.
 

Zefah

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,677
Too bad Tencent is not state-backed.
And if you're going to imply that all Chinese companies are state-backed next... well, you're proving my point then.
No, I'm not proving your point. You don't get to be a big company with power in China without strong backing by the CCP. You do not get to continue to exist and operate in the country without deep cooperation with the state, including lots of data sharing.
 

Nome

Designer
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
2,007
NYC
No, I'm not proving your point. You don't get to be a big company with power in China without strong state-level backing. You do not get to continue to exist and operate in the country without strong cooperation with the state, including lots of data sharing.
This is coming from your personal experience working with large Chinese companies? lol. Do tell.
Waiting for those sources to prove you actually know what you're talking about and aren't coming from a place of fearmongering ignorance.
 

Armaros

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,131
I see the deflection campaign by RPS has worked? Somehow Epic admitting to violating privacy is now about China.
 
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MrBob

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,385
Doing research is beneath Games Media, when they can operate on the assumption they are always right

Most of that article is just the writer editorializing about what she thinks about people criticizing Epic
To be honest I expected a better researched article from rock paper shotgun. Guess I'll have to lower my expectations from now on

If she was a an actual journalist she would chasing people for details.
Alice has done some good in the past with research. That's why I little surprised that article was from her.

Might be a case where Sweeney posted on Reddit after her article, but the dismissal of the topic will always be there.
 

Zefah

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,677
This is coming from your personal experience working with large Chinese companies? lol. Do tell.
Waiting for those sources to prove you actually know what you're talking about and aren't coming from a place of fearmongering ignorance.
It doesn't take much investigation to know that Tencent is one of the tech giants in China propped up by the CCP so that they can control the Internet and quash dissent in their own country.

Now, that doesn't mean that the foreign companies owned wholly or partially by Chinese tech giants are just openly providing data to them, but it's not dumb to be suspicious.