Thursday, March 01, 2007
The end of virtual privacy
In the real world, if a government decided to launch a web application into which you just have to type a name and get all the possible information and data about any of its citizen without his consent, there would be an outcry of privacy advocates. In the virtual World of Warcraft, Blizzard did just that. The Armory (still in beta right now) (click here for the European Armory) allows you to type in the name of any World of Warcraft character, select the one you want if there are several with the same name, and see all his stats, his gear, his reputation points, his skills, and his talent build, as well as his guild. And apparently there is no switch in your World of Warcraft interface to disable other people viewing your data. If you play, all of your data are now public. Soon many guilds will use The Armory for checking out candidates for recruitment.
Now I don't mind people using applications like CTProfiles (which now will die a screaming death) to exchange their data if they want to. But where are my virtual privacy rights if Blizzard just makes my data available to everybody? At the very least the players should get a screen when logging on the next time allowing them to make their data private. Your only hope of hiding right now is to name your elf hunter some variation of Legolas (there are over 400 of those on the US servers alone) and tell nobody what server you are playing on. There are 11 Tobolds on European servers, and 9 in the US. :)