Posted by Chuck Corbin on Nov 12, 2012

Blizzard Sued Over Server Hacks, Authenticators

Blizzard’s authenticators are a handy tool, providing your Battle.net account with an extra layer of security that not even a complex password can provide. In fact, because the Diablo III Auction House deals with real money it is a required piece of equipment if you want to make some cash on that Auction House. And according to a class action lawsuit filed against Blizzard that is exactly the problem.

The law firm Carney Williams Bates Pulliam & Bowman allege that authenticators are necessary “in order to have even minimal protection for their sensitive person, private, and financial data.” The problem comes from the fact that while users can use a smartphone app to get a free authenticator, not all users have a smartphone, and thus if they want to use something like the Auction House in Diablo III they must purchase a keychain authenticator. In the end, the suit claims that Blizzard is guilty of practicing “deceptive upselling”, since “additional products must be acquired after buying the games in order to ensure the security of information”.

Owen Good of Kotaku thinks that the lawsuit is an “overreach”, but I disagree. He says that because there is a free option for an authenticator on a smartphone, which many people have, there is no real reason for the lawsuit. But, the fact is not everybody has a smartphone. For instance, I don’t have one, and quite frankly I don’t intend on getting one any time soon. And while the keychain authenticator is only $6.50, in the end it becomes more about the principal of the thing. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Blizzard lose this case, if it ever gets to court.


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