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

Mar 14, 2019
20
So, again, comparing the file information in localconfig.vdf with actual passwords is incorrect. Is it bad that it's so open? Yes. But you're coming across as both the open-nature of the data and Epic's stealing that data are just as bad as each-other. They're not.
Again, never said that. My belief is they both share fault. Whatever percentage you want to come up with is ok with me. In car accidents in at-fault states the officer determines a percentage of fault for each of the drivers in the accident. Sometimes it's 0% & 100%. Sometimes it's 30% and 70%.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,572
Again, never said that.
Not every file on your hard drive is created equal IS IT? Is your master password list supposed to be stored in plain text the same as un-encrypted pictures of your cat? Microsoft protects your "Live" credentials, Google protects your stored password archive, how many more examples do I have to give?
Reads to me like you're comparing the info in localconfig.vdf with sensitive data. But my bad if I misunderstood.
 
Oct 27, 2017
134
Based on some of the responses to this I do wonder why there hasn't been greater investigations on the amount of astro-turfing big companies do. Like it's definitely it's occurring (that or once again people are unhealthily attached to their corporate overlords) but there hasn't really been a conversation about it's frequency or how it affects the communities the companies infiltrate.
 
Oct 25, 2017
911
Based on some of the responses to this I do wonder why there hasn't been greater investigations on the amount of astro-turfing big companies do. Like it's definitely it's occurring (that or once again people are unhealthily attached to their corporate overlords) but there hasn't really been a conversation about it's frequency or how it affects the communities the companies infiltrate.
There's only a discussion when they get caught and it fairly hard to catch them since they tend to hide it well.
I mean, it took pretty much a year for people just to find out about this and it was in plain sight.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,059
It's all about the Benjamins $$$.
There's no reason to assume there was any money transfer involved. It's a natural consequence of writers in the games industry -- even good ones -- generally having zero journalistic or analytic training. That means their "reporting" amounts to picking low-hanging fruit and reproducing superficial impressions, which favors companies that invest heavily in PR and carefully control their public image. Valve very explicitly does not do this, so you get, e.g., completely incoherent takes parroting Epic's claims to be great for the "little guy" compared to Steam, when the actual little guy isn't even allowed on Epic's storefront.
 
Mar 14, 2019
20
Reads to me like you're comparing the info in localconfig.vdf with sensitive data. But my bad if I misunderstood.
How about this to clarify my views:

The open-nature of Windows used to be much worse and it's improving. This shows we continue to need more improvement. On your phone, you have to be asked before any application accesses your contacts. In Windows, Steam stores your contacts (friends list in this scenario) in a plain text file visible to anyone else on the computer. On a Mac, this data could be stored in the Keychain, it would be encrypted, and only the application that created it could access it. We need a "Keychain" for Windows.

To demonstrate what I mean with Steam's responsibility, they don't even store your "userdata' in the proper %APPDATA% directory structure. They store it in C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\userdata\NUMBER . User data is supposed to be stored in the protected %APPDATA% (C:\users\name\AppData) directory structure so that only that user can read it (among other reasons). Because they store it outside of there, any other user on your computer can go into C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\userdata\NUMBER and read your data. I just created a second user in Windows and tried it. This is fundamental disregard for Windows programming standards in place since Windows XP. User data is not supposed to be stored in "Program Files" since back then.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
3,745
Not going to respond to the troll, but just so people are aware, windows does have an equivalent of Mac OS's keychain, it's called credentials manager. The windows game store uses it. Another tell of the trolling, btw. Don't fall for it, report and move on.
 
Oct 25, 2017
148
If the text content of the vdf files aren't explicitly parsed, can Epic still extract information about play history using the vdf file properties by checking things like file sizes and modified/creation dates etc. Or would that still be classified as parsing the data in the files?
 
Mar 14, 2019
20
Credentials Manager is accessible via an API and it's a start, but it is only intended to store credentials like user names and passwords : docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/desktop/secauthn/credentials-management

Keychain on a Mac is much more advanced. Keychain allows the storage of any information, limits access to each item to certain applications and prompts the user to provide access. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keychain_(software)

Keychain Access is a macOS application that allows the user to access the Keychain and configure its contents, including passwords for websites, web forms, FTP servers, SSH accounts, network shares, wireless networks, groupware applications, encrypted disk images, etc.

I'm not here to argue the merits of either, but to say that user privacy in Windows needs improvement from all developers.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,090
What makes Epic so untrustworthy to me is that Valve has a free API they could use if they just wanted to import friends list and I haven’t heard a good reason why they aren’t using it.
 
Mar 14, 2019
63
We've got some progress (? )

If you scroll down the RPS comments, Graham Smith makes several appearances. He basically states that he doesn't see exclusives as a long term problem (it's for the good of the industry) and eventually ask concedes that RPS "has changed" without going into details.

As I said before, I'm not subscribing to the "Epic gives publications bags of cash" theory, but I can certainly feel a general sense of a pro-epic bias.
 
Mar 14, 2019
20
If the text content of the vdf files aren't explicitly parsed, can Epic still extract information about play history using the vdf file properties by checking things like file sizes and modified/creation dates etc. Or would that still be classified as parsing the data in the files?
Not really, but the whole issue of "parsing" is kinda semantics. At first Epic launcher start, they read in the whole Steam file, transform the data using XOR, and write it back out in their own directory. They use the word parsing because that means to read the structure of the file and find the information you are interested in. Now no matter what they say, when you use the import friends feature they are absolutely parsing the file when they go through it looking for your friends names, hash each name, and send it to Epic to see if it matches a user on the Epic service. Their statement is that while parsing it then, they don't do anything else. It's up to each user whether they trust them. (Personally, I don't trust them!) Remember, they already made a backup copy of that Steam file for themselves in case Steam encrypts or removes that file in the future. Tim Sweeney does admit that this was a mistake to do - likely because he it looks so bad and he got caught.

References:

https://www.reddit.com/r/PhoenixPoi..._game_store_spyware_tracking_and_you/eijrgsm/

https://www.reddit.com/r/PhoenixPoi..._game_store_spyware_tracking_and_you/eik9i8m/


What makes Epic so untrustworthy to me is that Valve has a free API they could use if they just wanted to import friends list and I haven’t heard a good reason why they aren’t using it.
100% agree.
 

Durante

Dark Souls Man
Member
Oct 24, 2017
4,664
Again, never said that. My belief is they both share fault.
I don't.

As I said earlier, you don't randomly encrypt normal non-critical (as in, not e.g. a password or a credit card number) information generated during the execution of a program expecting that some spyware grabs it. (And at the same time, "non-critical" doesn't mean "free for all", especially not under GDPR)

And no, I do not agree with the "everyone should encrypt everything" idea. It reduces performance, reduces the mallability and portability of data, reduces user insight into and control of what exactly which applications stores, and generally just isn't necessary if ostensibly trustworthy programs like EGS don't act like spyware.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,296
Yeah, generally you don't encrypt everything by default. Steam are doing what most programs do, but maybe now they will change since it seems a competitor has resulted to straight up spyware tactics.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,506
We've got some progress (? )

If you scroll down the RPS comments, Graham Smith makes several appearances. He basically states that he doesn't see exclusives as a long term problem (it's for the good of the industry) and eventually ask concedes that RPS "has changed" without going into details.

As I said before, I'm not subscribing to the "Epic gives publications bags of cash" theory, but I can certainly feel a general sense of a pro-epic bias.
So basically they admit they are doing free PR for Epic because they 'believe' in Epic
 
Oct 25, 2017
911
WTF?
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This Agreement is entered into in the State of North Carolina, U.S.A., and shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of North Carolina, exclusive of its choice of law rules. For any Disputes deemed not subject to binding individual arbitration, as provided in the section immediately below, you and Epic agree to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Superior Court of Wake County, North Carolina, or, if federal court jurisdiction exists, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. You and Epic agree to waive any jurisdictional, venue, or inconvenient forum objections to such courts (without affecting either party’s rights to remove a case to federal court if permissible), as well as any right to a jury trial. The Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods will not apply. Any law or regulation which provides that the language of a contract shall be construed against the drafter will not apply to this Agreement. This paragraph will be interpreted as broadly as applicable law permits.

12. Binding Individual Arbitration; Class Action Waiver

PLEASE READ THIS SECTION CAREFULLY. IT AFFECTS YOUR RIGHTS, INCLUDING YOUR RIGHT TO FILE A LAWSUIT IN COURT.

Most issues can be resolved quickly and amicably by contacting Epic customer support at https://www.epicgames.com/customer-service. But we understand that sometimes disputes can’t be easily resolved by customer support. This Section explains how You and Epic agree to resolve those disputes, including (where applicable) by binding, individual arbitration.

Arbitration is an alternative dispute-resolution procedure that allows us to resolve issues without the formality of going to court. Any dispute between You and Epic is submitted to a neutral arbitrator (not a judge or jury) for fair and fast resolution. Arbitration is more efficient for both you and Epic.

12.1 Informal Resolution.

If you have an issue that our customer support can’t resolve, prior to starting arbitration You and Epic agree to attempt to resolve the dispute informally to help get us to a resolution and control costs for both parties. You and Epic agree to make a good-faith effort to negotiate any dispute between us for at least 30 days (“Informal Resolution”). Those informal negotiations will start on the day You or Epic receive a written Notice of a Dispute in accordance with this Agreement.

You will send your Notice of Dispute to Epic Games, Inc., Legal Department, ATTN: NOTICE OF DISPUTE, Box 254, 2474 Walnut Street, Cary, North Carolina, 27518, U.S.A. Include your name, account name you use while playing Fortnite, address, how to contact you, what the problem is, and what you want Epic to do. If Epic has a dispute with You, Epic will send our Notice of Dispute to your registered email address and any billing address You have provided us.

If you reside in the European Union (“EU”), You may also be entitled to submit Your complaint to the European Commission’s Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Platform. ODR allows EU consumers to resolve disputes related to the online purchases of goods and services without going to court.

If the dispute isn’t resolved within by Informal Resolution or small-claims court (below), You or Epic may start an arbitration in accordance with this Agreement.

12.2 Small Claims Court

Instead of using Informal Resolution, You and Epic agree that You may sue us in small-claims court in your choice of the county where you live or Wake County, North Carolina (if you meet the requirements of small-claims court). We hope you’ll try Informal Resolution first, but you don’t have to before going to small-claims court.

12.3 Binding Individual Arbitration.

THE ARBITRATION PROCEEDINGS IN THIS SECTION WILL BE CONDUCTED ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS ONLY.

You and Epic agree that Disputes will be settled by binding individual arbitration conducted by the Judicial Arbitration Mediation Services, Inc. (“JAMS”) subject to the U.S. Federal Arbitration Act and federal arbitration law and according to the JAMS Streamlined Arbitration Rules and Procedures effective July 1, 2014 (the “JAMS Rules”) as modified by this Agreement.

This means that You and Epic agree to a dispute-resolution process where we submit any Dispute to a neutral arbitrator (not a judge or jury) that makes the final decision to resolve the Dispute. JAMS uses experienced professionals to arbitrate disputes, which helps You and Epic resolve any disputes fairly, but more quickly and efficiently than going to court. The arbitrator may award the same remedies to you individually as a court could, but only to the extent required to satisfy your individual claim.

The arbitrator’s decision is final, except for a limited review by courts under the U.S. Federal Arbitration Act, and can enforced like any other court order or judgment.

12.3.1 Disputes We Agree to Arbitrate:

You and Epic agree to submit all Disputes between You and Epic to individual binding arbitration. “Dispute” means any dispute, claim, or controversy (except those specifically exempted below) between You and Epic that relates to your use or attempted use of Epic’s products or services and Epic’s products and services generally, including without limitation the validity, enforceability, or scope of this Binding Individual Arbitration section.

You and Epic agree to arbitrate all Disputes regardless of whether the Dispute is based in contract, statute, regulation, ordinance, tort (including fraud, misrepresentation, fraudulent inducement, or negligence), or any other legal or equitable theory.

The Informal Resolution and Arbitration sections do not apply to (1) individual actions in small-claims court; (2) pursuit of enforcement actions through a government agency if the law allows; (3) a complaint or remedy under the EU General Data Protection Regulation; (4) an action to compel or uphold any prior arbitration decision; (5) Epic’s right to seek injunctive relief against You in a court of law to preserve the status quo while an arbitration proceeds; (6) claims of piracy, creation, distribution, or promotion of Cheats, and intellectual-property infringement, and (7) the enforceability of the Class Action Waiver clause below.

You and Epic agree that whether a dispute is subject to arbitration under this Agreement will be determined by the arbitrator rather than a court.

12.3.2 Arbitration Procedure:

To start an arbitration, review the JAMS Rules and follow the instructions for initiating an arbitration on the JAMS website. The party starting an arbitration must send JAMS a “Demand for Arbitration” (available on its website), pay a filing fee, and mail a copy of the Demand for Arbitration to the opposing party. You will send a copy to Epic Games, Inc., Legal Department, ATTN: ARBITRATION OF DISPUTE, Box 254, 2474 Walnut Street, Cary, North Carolina, 27518, U.S.A. Epic will send our copy to your registered email address and any billing address You have provided us.

The arbitration will be conducted by a single JAMS arbitrator selected with substantial experience in resolving intellectual-property and commercial-contract disputes. You and Epic both agree that the arbitration will be conducted in the English language and that the arbitrator will be bound by this Agreement.

If an in-person hearing is required, the hearing will take place either in Wake County, North Carolina, or where You reside; you choose.

The arbitrator (not a judge or jury) will resolve the Dispute. Unless You and Epic agree otherwise, any decision or award will include a written statement stating the decision of each claim and the basis for the award, including the arbitrator’s essential factual and legal findings and conclusions.

The arbitrator may only award legal or equitable remedies that are requested by You or Epic to satisfy one of our individual claims (that the arbitrator determines are supported by credible relevant evidence). The arbitrator may not award relief against Epic respecting any person other than You.

Any decision or award may be enforced as a final judgment by any court of competent jurisdiction or, if applicable, application may be made to such court for judicial acceptance of any award and an order of enforcement.

12.3.3 Arbitration Fees and Location:

If You start the arbitration, you must pay the JAMS filing fee required for consumer arbitrations.

In some situations, Epic will help with your fees to (hopefully) get us to a resolution quickly and fairly:

If the Dispute involves $10,000 or less, Epic will pay all of the JAMS costs, including the fees you otherwise would have been required to pay.

If the above doesn’t apply to You, but You demonstrate that arbitration costs will be prohibitive compared to litigation costs, Epic will pay as much of your JAMS costs as the arbitrator finds is necessary to prevent arbitration from being cost-prohibitive (as compared to the cost of litigation).

Even if Epic wins the arbitration and the applicable law or the JAMS Rules allow Epic to seek our portion of the JAMS fees from you, we won’t.

The fee assistance offered above is contingent upon You bringing the arbitration claim in “good faith”. If the arbitrator finds You brought an arbitration claim against Epic for an improper purpose, frivolously, or without a sufficient pre-claim investigation into the facts or applicable law, then the payment of all fees will be governed by the JAMS rules.

JAMS costs do not include your Attorneys’ fees and costs and Attorneys’ fees and JAMS costs are not counted when determining how much a dispute involves.

Epic won’t seek our attorneys’ fees or expenses from you in any arbitration, even if the law or the JAMS rules entitle us to do so. If you choose to be represented by an attorney, you will pay your own attorneys’ fees and costs unless the applicable law provides otherwise.

12.3.4 Notice and Filing. If a Dispute must be arbitrated, You or Epic must start arbitration of the Dispute within two (2) years from when the Dispute first arose. If applicable law requires you to bring a claim for a Dispute sooner than two years after the Dispute first arose, you must start arbitration in that earlier time period. Epic encourages You to tell us about a Dispute as soon as possible so we can work to resolve it. The failure to provide timely notice shall bar all claims.

12.3.5 Continuation in Effect. This Binding Individual Arbitration section survives any termination of this Agreement or Epic’s provision of services to You.

12.3.6 Future Arbitration Changes. Although Epic may revise this Agreement in its discretion, Epic does not have the right to alter this agreement to arbitrate or the rules specified herein with respect to any Dispute once that Dispute arises.

12.4 Class Action Waiver.

To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, You and Epic agree to only bring Disputes in an individual capacity and shall not:

seek to bring, join, or participate in any class or representative action, collective or class-wide arbitration, or any other action where another individual or entity acts in a representative capacity (e.g., private attorney general actions); or

consolidate or combine individual proceedings or permit an arbitrator to do so without the express consent of all parties to this Agreement and all other actions or arbitrations.

12.5 Severability.

If all or any provision of this Binding Individual Arbitration agreement is found invalid, unenforceable, or illegal, then You and Epic agree that the provision will be severed and the rest of the agreement shall remain in effect and be construed as if any severed provision had not been included. The sole exception is that if the Class Action Waiver is found invalid, unenforceable, or illegal, You and Epic agree that it will not be severable; this entire Binding Individual Arbitration section will be void and unenforceable and any dispute will be resolved in court subject to the venue and choice of clauses specified in this Agreement. Under no circumstances shall arbitration be conducted on a class basis without Epic’s express consent.

12.6 Your 30-Day Right to Opt Out

You have the right to opt out of and not to be bound by the arbitration and class action waiver provisions set forth in this Agreement. To exercise this right, You must send written notice of your decision to the following address: Epic Games, Inc., Legal Department, ATTN: ARBITRATION OPT-OUT, Box 254, 2474 Walnut Street, Cary, North Carolina, 27518, U.S.A. Your notice must include your name, mailing address, and account name you use while playing Fortnite, and state that you do not wish to resolve disputes with Epic through arbitration. To be effective, this notice must be postmarked or deposited within 30 days of the date on which you first accepted this Agreement unless a longer period is required by applicable law; otherwise you will be bound to arbitrate disputes in accordance with this section. You are responsible for ensuring that Epic receives your opt-out notice, so you may wish to send it by a means that provides for a delivery receipt. If you opt out of these arbitration provisions, Epic will not be bound by them with respect to Disputes with you.

13. U.S. Government Matters

The Software is a “Commercial Item” (as defined at 48 C.F.R. §2.101), consisting of “Commercial Computer Software” and “Commercial Computer Software Documentation” (as used in 48 C.F.R. §12.212 or 48 C.F.R. §227.7202, as applicable). The Software is being licensed to U.S. Government end users only as Commercial Items and with only those rights as are granted to other licensees under this Agreement.

You agree to comply with all applicable federal and foreign laws, regulations, and rules, and complete any required undertakings. You agree not to use, export, re-export, or download the Software or Services into (or to a national or resident of) any country to which the U.S. has embargoed goods, or to anyone on the U.S. Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Nationals or the U.S. Commerce Department’s Table of Denial Orders. You represent and warrant that you are not located in, under the control of, or a national or resident of any U.S. restricted or prohibited country or on any U.S. restricted or prohibited list.

14. Amendments of this Agreement

Epic may issue an amended Agreement, Terms of Service, or Privacy Policy at any time in its discretion by posting the amended Agreement, Terms of Service, or Privacy Policy on its website or by providing you with digital access to amended versions of any of these documents when you next access the Software. If any amendment to this Agreement, the Terms of Service, or Privacy Policy is not acceptable to you, you may terminate this Agreement and must stop using the Software. Your continued use of the Software will demonstrate your acceptance of the amended Agreement and Terms of Service as well as your acknowledgement that you have read the amended Privacy Policy.

15. No Assignment

You may not, without the prior written consent of Epic, assign, transfer, charge, or sub-contract all or any of your rights or obligations under this Agreement, and any attempt without that consent will be null and void. If restrictions on transfer of the Software in this Agreement are not enforceable under the law of your country, then this Agreement will be binding on any recipient of the Software. Epic may at any time assign, transfer, charge, or sub-contract all or any of its rights or obligations under this Agreement.

16. Definitions

As used in this Agreement, the following capitalized words have the following meanings:

“Cheat Detection” means functionality intended to identify Cheats.

“Cheats” means programs, methods, or other processes which may give players an unfair competitive advantage in the Software.

“Confidential Information” means any non-public information related to the Software, including without limitation information related to gameplay or other content, Game Currency, Content, the Services, your own feedback and comments, and the feedback or comments of any other licensee of the Software or any Epic representative.

“Content” means any virtual items, virtual environments (such as islands), or other content that Epic makes available for you to access or download through or in connection with the Software, and expressly includes Licensed Music, and UGC that has been licensed to us by our users.

“Epic” means, depending on the location of your primary residence:

a. Epic Games, Inc., a Maryland Corporation having its principal business offices at Box 254, 2474 Walnut Street, Cary, North Carolina, 27518, U.S.A.; or

b. Epic Games International S.à r.l., a Luxembourg Société à Responsibilité Limitée, located at Atrium Business Park, 33 rue du Puits Romain, L8070 Bertrange, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, acting through its Swiss branch, having its principal business offices at Platz 3, 6039 Root, Switzerland.

“Feedback” means any feedback or suggestions that you provide to Epic regarding the Software, Services or other Epic products and services.

“Services” means any services made available to you through the Software, including services to acquire, maintain and use Game Currency and Content.

“Software” means the proprietary software application known as Fortnite, and any patches, updates, and upgrades to the application, and all related content and documentation made available to you by Epic under this Agreement, including but not limited to all software code, titles, themes, objects, characters, names, dialogue, catch phrases, locations, stories, artwork, animation, concepts, sounds, audio-visual effects, methods of operation, and musical compositions that are related to the application, and any copies of any of the foregoing. Software specifically includes all Game Currency and Content for which you have paid the associated fee or otherwise acquired a license under Section 4.

17. Miscellaneous

This Agreement and any document or information referred to in this Agreement constitute the entire agreement between you and Epic relating to the subject matter covered by this Agreement. All other communications, proposals, and representations with respect to the subject matter covered by this Agreement are excluded.

The original of this Agreement is in English; any translations are provided for reference purposes only. It is the express wish of the parties that these Terms and all related documents have been drawn up in English. Les parties déclarent qu'elles ont demandé et par les présentes confirment leur desir exprés que cette convention soit rédigee en anglais. You waive any right you may have under the law of your country to have this Agreement written or construed in the language of any other country.

This Agreement describes certain legal rights. You may have other rights under the laws of your jurisdiction. This Agreement does not change your rights under the laws of your jurisdiction if the laws of your jurisdiction do not permit it to do so. Limitations and exclusions of warranties and remedies in this Agreement may not apply to you because your jurisdiction may not allow them in your particular circumstance. In the event that certain provisions of this Agreement are held by a court or tribunal of competent jurisdiction to be unenforceable, those provisions shall be enforced only to the furthest extent possible under applicable law and the remaining terms of this Agreement will remain in full force and effect.

Any act by Epic to exercise, or failure or delay in exercise of, any of its rights under this Agreement, at law or in equity will not be deemed a waiver of those or any other rights or remedies available in contract, at law or in equity.

You agree that this Agreement does not confer any rights or remedies on any person other than the parties to this Agreement, except as expressly stated.

Epic’s obligations are subject to existing laws and legal process, and Epic may comply with law enforcement or regulatory requests or requirements despite any contrary term in this Agreement.

18. Additional Platform Terms

18.1 Sony PlayStation Users:

The following additional terms and conditions apply with respect to Software available for use on PlayStation devices that you own or control:

Please note that Epic will store Sony Entertainment Network account information, including your email address and Online ID, as explained in Epic’s Privacy Policy. Epic may allow its users to search for other Epic accounts by their SEN account and other Epic users may send you friend requests. Your SEN account privacy settings will not apply to your Epic account.

In no event may you convert any Software virtual currency into real currency, tangible goods, or in-kind consideration, and you are expressly forbidden from engaging in off-platform sales or exchanges of such virtual currency, such as at eBay or other auction sites.

For SIEA users: Purchase and use of items are subject to the Network Terms of Service and User Agreement. This online service has been sublicensed to you by Sony Interactive Entertainment America.

For SIEE users: Any content purchased in an in-game store will be purchased from Sony Interactive Entertainment Network Europe Limited (“SIENE”) and be subject to PlayStation™ Network Terms of Service and User Agreement which is available on the PlayStation® Store. Please check usage rights for each purchase as these may differ from item to item. Unless otherwise shown, content available in any in-game store has the same age rating as the game.

18.2 Microsoft Xbox Users.

The following additional terms and conditions apply with respect to Software available for use on Xbox Live devices that you own or control:

Neither Microsoft Corporation nor any of its affiliates (collectively, “Microsoft”) have any maintenance or support obligations with respect to the Software or Services.

Nothing in this Agreement shall govern or change, in any way, your relationship with Microsoft under any agreements between you and Microsoft, including the Xbox Live terms of use.

Further, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, the aggregate liability of the Epic Parties (other than Microsoft) arising out of or in connection with this Agreement or the Software (including any Game Currency or Content) or Services will not exceed the total amounts you have paid (if any) to Epic for the Software (including any Game Currency or Content) during the twelve (12) months immediately preceding the events giving rise to such liability and Microsoft shall have no liability to you arising out of or in connection with this Agreement or the Software (including any Game Currency or Content) or Services. These limitations and exclusions regarding damages apply even if any remedy fails to provide adequate compensation.

18.3 Apple iOS Users.

The following additional terms and conditions apply with respect to Software available for use on any Apple, Inc. (“Apple”) iPhone or iPad devices that you own or control:

You acknowledge that your agreement is not with Apple. Epic, not Apple, is solely responsible for the Software and the content thereof.

Your use of the Software shall be subject to the terms of this Agreement and as permitted by the Usage Rules set forth in the App Store Terms and Conditions as of the date you download or first use the Software (which you acknowledge you have had the opportunity to review).

You agree that Apple has no maintenance or support obligations with respect to the Software or Services.

You acknowledge and agree that Apple is not responsible for any product warranties, whether express or implied by law, with respect to the Software or Services. If you are legally entitled to a warranty in your country or other jurisdiction, then in the event of any failure of the Software or Services to conform to such required warranty, you may notify Apple, and Apple will refund the purchase price, if any, paid by you to Apple for the Software. To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, Apple will have no other warranty obligation whatsoever with respect to the Software or Services, and any other claims, losses, liabilities, damages, costs or expenses attributable to any failure to conform to such required warranty will be Epic’s sole responsibility. However, you understand and agree that in accordance with this Agreement, Epic has disclaimed all warranties of any kind with respect to the Software and Services, and therefore, there are no warranties applicable to the Software or Services, except those required by law.

As between Apple and Epic, Epic, not Apple, is responsible for addressing your or any third party’s claims relating to the Software or Services or your possession and/or use of the Software or Services, including, but not limited to: (i) product liability claims; (ii) any claim that the Software or Services fail to conform to any applicable legal or regulatory requirement; and (iii) claims arising under consumer protection or similar legislation. In the event of any third party claim that the Software or Services or your possession and use of the Software or Services infringes that third party’s intellectual property rights, Epic, not Apple, will be solely responsible for the investigation, defense, settlement and discharge of any such intellectual property infringement claim (if and to the extent required under this Agreement).

You agree that this Agreement does not confer any rights or remedies on any person other than the parties to this Agreement, except as expressly stated. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Apple, and Apple’s subsidiaries, are third party beneficiaries of this Agreement, and upon your acceptance of this Agreement, Apple will have the right (and will be deemed to have accepted the right) to enforce this Agreement against you as a third party beneficiary thereof.

Any end-user questions, complaints or claims with respect to the Software should be directed to [email protected].

18.4 Samsung GALAXY Users.

The following additional terms and conditions apply with respect to Software available for use on the Samsung GALAXY devices that you own or control:

The Software may provide you the ability to make payments through Samsung’s In-App-Purchase APIs. In the event that you make a payment using Samsung's In-App-Purchase, the Samsung GALAXY Apps Terms and Conditions that you entered into with Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (or its affiliates) regarding the use of Samsung’s In-App-Purchase and its equivalent terms shall apply to the payment and any refunds related to such payment.
Any way to compare against anything prior?
 
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Oct 27, 2017
142
So basically they admit they are doing free PR for Epic because they 'believe' in Epic
You could definitely read it that way.

graham smith said:
The software accesses the file but that’s different than sending it to Epic’s servers, where Epic could do something with it. The last part only happens if you decide to import Steam friends.
Graham Smith said:
We didn’t lose our teeth we just decided that it wasn’t productive to bite people in every situation.
graham smith said:
Here’s the article we wrote about Epic signing up exclusives, in which we say that the Epic Game Store is rubbish and the exclusives are a bad way about building an audience: link to rockpapershotgun.com

Just because we don’t want to join an anti-Epic crusade because you want to buy your games on Steam doesn’t mean we are being paid by Epic.

Regarding Steam? Yeah, we’re critical of them. They’re also the first store we link for pretty much every game we write about? And Unknown Pleasures on a Friday is exclusively about Steam games? And we run Steam Charts on Mondays? And we were very critical of Steam when it launched and was rubbish and have praised its very many updates and improvements over the past ten years? And we’re critical of it now because it has problems, still, just as we’ve been critical of the Epic Game Store? There’s no shortage of pro-Steam coverage around here. It is the de facto platform holder on PC, for better and worse.

As for this story: we’re not making excuses, we’re just reporting the full context of what has happened rather than working ourselves into a lather based on misinformation and conjecture. Is software looking at data beyond its remit bad? Yes, but the conclusions leapt to in much of the discussion around this are all based on very little, and inspired by ill-feeling towards Epic as much as they are the actual misuse of data. The explanations given by Epic are reasonable. And frankly: Steam and Origin have both been accused of doing similar things with data in years past, to much less fury, and have given similar answers to Epic.
graham smith said:
And we’ve been critical about it in this instance, but things change, the industry has changed, we care about different things now and we address those things in different ways. We are still extremely critical of many, many things in the game industry at large. We have even been critical of Epic for the exclusives! And I know we are still critical of lots of things because every time it happens we’re told we’re just trying to create drama to get clicks.
 
Jan 3, 2019
594
Hold up. Was this new?

THIS AGREEMENT CONTAINS A BINDING, INDIVIDUAL ARBITRATION AND CLASS-ACTION WAIVER PROVISION. IF YOU ACCEPT THIS AGREEMENT, YOU AND EPIC AGREE TO RESOLVE DISPUTES IN BINDING, INDIVIDUAL ARBITRATION AND GIVE UP THE RIGHT TO GO TO COURT INDIVIDUALLY OR AS PART OF A CLASS ACTION, AND EPIC AGREES TO PAY YOUR ARBITRATION COSTS FOR ALL DISPUTES OF UP TO $10,000 THAT ARE MADE IN GOOD FAITH (SEE SECTION 12). YOU HAVE A TIME-LIMITED RIGHT TO OPT OUT OF THIS WAIVER.
 
In an ideal environment (like in Android), Epic would not be able to see Steam's data because it would be isolated to the Steam application itself. I hear talk like "Well, your entire machine needs to be encrypted if you want to have privacy." No. There are such things as permissions and isolation. You can't access private system directories in Windows because the permissions prevent you. Your own user directory is blocked from other users on the machine.

Why is it so wrong to say the data file should not be accessible to Epic in the first place? Whether it be through encryption, permissions, isolation, or any programming construct available.
Not encrypting this type of data is both standard in the industry and entirely reasonable for reasons other people have covered. Without encryption, there's not much you can reasonably do to protect it. As Windows and Linux are set up, stuff in your user directory is generally open to be read and/or edited by other programs. Windows recently (last year) added a way to restrict apps from accessing certain folders, but only letting a specific app access a file isn't something there's an existing mechanism for that I know of, though I'm not an expert. Generally, if you NEED that kind of security, you encrypt the file and accept the consequences. Encrypting files that are unlikely to cause harm if accessed illicitly just because another program might read them would be ridiculous.

Valve is not at fault for their software behaving in a way standard in the industry.
 
Mar 14, 2019
63
it's interesting. But this is an agreement for Fortnite, and it does not appear to include the launcher.

-At least, reading the definition of "software", I'm struggling to fit the EGS launcher in there. But I don't do IP law, so that doesn't mean anything.
 
Feb 5, 2018
1,101
d
So Valve is mad they are accessing the file yet still didn't fully commit to keep our user data safe by at least TRYING to hide it instead of keeping it in plain sight? *expletive* *expletive*. I'm not sure how others feel, but I find the lack of concern for user's private data is sickening from both of these companies. The Steam application has had what I consider the most sluggish development progress for a team of it's size in the entire history of software development. They have had no real competition so they have barely made progress in the many years since it was developed (In-Home streaming was one of the few new features). I'll stop myself before I go on a rant.

Valve's Doug Lombardi : "The Steam Client locally saves data such as the list of games you own, your friends list and saved login tokens (similar to information stored in web browser cookies)," wrote Lombardi. "This is private user data, stored on the user's home machine and is not intended to be used by other programs or uploaded to any 3rd party service.

He admits that this is private user data and yet still doesn't commit to protecting it. It's just mind boggling. I know, Epic is the data thief, but Steam left the door open with all your possessions in clear view.
Steam bad, Steam bad, Steam bad
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,074
The fact that Steam and Origin have done similar things in the past seems quite beside the point -- if it happened today, it'd be equally as questionable. Especially when "the past" was before GDPR rules that explicitly prevent data being collected (read: not used) without explicit opt-in/opt-out by the person about whom said data is collected. It doesn't matter at all whether its intent is malicious or not. I'm confused as to why Graham Smith doesn't seem to recognize this in any way.
 
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Nov 2, 2017
132
What makes Epic so untrustworthy to me is that Valve has a free API they could use if they just wanted to import friends list and I haven’t heard a good reason why they aren’t using it.
I may be mistaken, but I believe that's not possible if you have your profile set to private. And that seems to be the default behavior for all European accounts since the whole gdpr thing came into play.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,572
it's interesting. But this is an agreement for Fortnite, and it does not appear to include the launcher.

-At least, reading the definition of "software", I'm struggling to fit the EGS launcher in there. But I don't do IP law, so that doesn't mean anything.
This is true... But the data collection actually started before the EGS was a thing, through the Fortnite launcher, so this doesn't necessarily mean that it has nothing to do with the EGS.

I may be mistaken, but I believe that's not possible if you have your profile set to private. And that seems to be the default behavior for all European accounts since the whole gdpr thing came into play.
A third party can still request to import Friend list data, even if the user profile is private, they just have to request that the user makes their profile public temporarily. It can then be reverted to private afterwards. Steamgifts requests some of the same data (games owned, and friends/group info), and their FAQ page states:

Does my Steam profile need to be public to use the site?
You'll need to switch to a public profile when registering, so we can confirm you have a legitimate Steam account that meets our minimum requirements. From that point on, you can use the site with a private profile. However, if you wish to enter giveaways, the site will ask you to switch to a public Steam profile once a week to bring your account up-to-date.
 
Mar 14, 2019
20
You can tell I was disappointed with Steam's actual response. What I wanted to see from Steam was the following. These are my words mixed with what they released.

It has come to our attention that the Epic launcher has been accessing private user data stored by Steam that was not intended to be used by other programs or uploaded to any 3rd party service. We want you to know Valve respects the privacy of our users, so we will stop their improper access by improving the way Steam stores user data in the next client update.
I spent hours talking about this breach of privacy here and on (cancerous) Reddit after confirming what the Epic launcher was doing myself. I signed up here because I saw the lively discussion and I had a good time.

Valve is not at fault for their software behaving in a way standard in the industry.
I concede you are right on the Windows platform. Privacy is not in high regard there considering how much spying Windows 10 does itself.

Epic is terrible!
Signing off.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,754
So Valve is mad they are accessing the file yet still didn't fully commit to keep our user data safe by at least TRYING to hide it instead of keeping it in plain sight? *expletive* *expletive*. I'm not sure how others feel, but I find the lack of concern for user's private data is sickening from both of these companies.
I feel like I could flip a coin as to whether most of the posts in this thread are actually sarcasm or not.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,074
A third party can still request to import Friend list data, even if the user profile is private, they just have to request that the user makes their profile public temporarily. It can then be reverted to private afterwards. Steamgifts requests some of the same data (games owned, and friends/group info), and their FAQ page states:
You don't actually have to manually make it public right? I imported my Steam friends list into Uplay recently by just signing in to a Steam window clicking to agree to share friends list.

I think the thing with Steamgifts is to check whether you're VAC or trade banned.
 
Dec 12, 2018
40
I may be mistaken, but I believe that's not possible if you have your profile set to private. And that seems to be the default behavior for all European accounts since the whole gdpr thing came into play.
Rather the point though, no? "There's no good reason for them to breach our privacy." "Well they wouldn't have if you didn't have privacy!"
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,572
You don't actually have to manually make it public right? I imported my Steam friends list into Uplay recently by just signing in to a Steam window clicking to agree to share friends list.

I think the thing with Steamgifts is to check whether you're VAC or trade banned.
Oh, that's a good point about VAC/trade banned... Yeah, I think you're right, there.
 
Nov 1, 2017
40
Yesterday, we learned that the Epic Store client was copying a Steam user data file called localconfig.vdf Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said that this process was a rush job designed in "the early days of Fortnite," and that it's going to be fixed. He also said that the Epic Store doesn't use the Steam API due to Epic's own user privacy concerns, not regarding Steam's API in particular, but because of a "general concern of APIs collecting more data than expected."

Valve's Doug Lombardi said that the company is "looking into what information the Epic launcher collects from Steam." It sounds like Valve isn't too pleased about the whole thing. "The Steam Client locally saves data such as the list of games you own, your friends list and saved login tokens (similar to information stored in web browser cookies)," wrote Lombardi. "This is private user data, stored on the user's home machine and is not intended to be used by other programs or uploaded to any 3rd party service.
Reading through this, it seems Epic never used Steam's API. The way they link your steam friends is collecting local data. Is this a common practise? I mean, for example, when Apex ask me to link my steam friends Origin is doing that through the Steam API right?

So let's pretend that this file called localconfig.vdf only contains my Steam friend list and Epic only collects this AFTER I gave them explicit consent, it wouldn't be an ethical problem here? Even if this wasn't in any way scummy is ok to a program collect a local file instead of using an API?
 
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Oct 25, 2017
1,848
Reading through this, it seems Epic never used Steam's API. The way they link your steam friends is collecting local data. Is this a common practise? I mean, for example, when Apex ask me to link my steam friends Origin is doing through the Steam API right?

So let's pretend that this file called localconfig.vdf only contains my Steam friend list and Epic only collects this AFTER I gave them explicit consent, it wouldn't be an ethical problem here? Even if this wasn't in any way scummy is ok to a program collect a local file instead of using an API?
No, it is not a common practice. There is a reason APIs exist: when talking with other programs it is better to go through channels that the creator knows of to obtain only information they aprove of (as well as simplifying code, as you dont really need to learn how the program you are communicating to works only how to tell the API to give you the info).
 
Nov 1, 2017
40
No, it is not a common practice. There is a reason APIs exist: when talking with other programs it is better to go through channels that the creator knows of to obtain only information they aprove of (as well as simplifying code, as you dont really need to learn how the program you are communicating to works only how to tell the API to give you the info).
Yeah, I know. I was just asking that because Epic openly admit that they are taking local files like if that was a common practise.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,642
FIN
Hold up. Was this new?
Some years ago EU courts ruled that TOS's like bundled with software aren't legally binding documents as consumers can't be expected to read all of it, catch every thing like you quoted and in legal light understand them without consultation.

Also EU as larger whole don't give a fuck about their TOS if they look into this and find EGS to violate GDPR.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,459
So Valve is mad they are accessing the file yet still didn't fully commit to keep our user data safe by at least TRYING to hide it instead of keeping it in plain sight? *expletive* *expletive*. I'm not sure how others feel, but I find the lack of concern for user's private data is sickening from both of these companies. The Steam application has had what I consider the most sluggish development progress for a team of it's size in the entire history of software development. They have had no real competition so they have barely made progress in the many years since it was developed (In-Home streaming was one of the few new features). I'll stop myself before I go on a rant.

Valve's Doug Lombardi : "The Steam Client locally saves data such as the list of games you own, your friends list and saved login tokens (similar to information stored in web browser cookies)," wrote Lombardi. "This is private user data, stored on the user's home machine and is not intended to be used by other programs or uploaded to any 3rd party service.

He admits that this is private user data and yet still doesn't commit to protecting it. It's just mind boggling. I know, Epic is the data thief, but Steam left the door open with all your possessions in clear view.
Everything on my computer is private. I don't encrypt every file and I don't expect them to be. On a legacy platform like Win32 where you have to grant software a lot of access to do basic things you're suppose to trust that it won't do things like this and Epic have abused that trust.