Punkbuster EULA and Ethics [homework-related]

This is a discussion on Punkbuster EULA and Ethics [homework-related] within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; Originally Posted by Mario F. It will be England that will eventually need to change those laws if they indeed ...

  1. #16
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    It will be England that will eventually need to change those laws if they indeed end up passing in the House of Commons (which I doubt). It just so happens the EU is preparing exactly opposite laws that instead protect consumer privacy.
    Hopefully -- for the EU. My point being England has been following American policies because the American and English recording industries are closely tied together.

    Even if they can't take Europe, the RIAA will not give up on the USA, which is under no such commitments. Plus, they will probably learn from the outcome in the EU and modify their public campaign in the US accordingly.

    Sad to say, but these are the kinds of rights and freedoms which get more respect in Europe than here (which as I mention: the US is the stronghold of intellectual property rights legislation). If the US can force this down the throats of enough non-EU countries (eg Costa Rica -- these countries will go like dominoes because they have no choice. Also, many small developing world governments would love to impose laws whereby they can spy on your hard drive and will participate eagerly), they have some chance of eventually turning a table and presenting EU policy as the exception, thereby stirring up the right wing in Europe to correct the situation.

    If you don't think the video game industry would set it's sights higher than just catching people who cheat on-line, you are hopelessly naive. They are digging in for a long term complex fight over file sharing.
    Last edited by MK27; 02-10-2010 at 03:59 PM.
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  2. #17
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    I just don't think the video industry has such a weight. Sure they are an important lobby. But often this leads people to give them more power than they actually have. They can't even properly charge someone and win (trying to remember some of the recent cases RIAA ended up looking like an arse) much less influence half the world governments.

    What could happen between UK and USA/EU transactions was simply that any UK product would have to strip itself of any invasive DRM features if they wished to export it. Meanwhile any product made in US or EU could be sent to UK with full DRM features. This wouldn't otherwise affect transactions. I can't see how; censored titles are a far worse form of restriction and it happens all the time.
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    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  3. #18
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    I just don't think the video industry has such a weight. Sure they are an important lobby. But often this leads people to give them more power than they actually have. They can't even properly charge someone and win (trying to remember some of the recent cases RIAA ended up looking like an arse) much less influence half the world governments.
    They don't have to influence them at all. They just have to get smart and team up with the right people for mutual benefit. So, EA may not care one way or another whether the government spies on you, and many elected politicians may not care one way or the other about people cheating at online games, but if there is a common interest there (the development, implementation, and acceptance of invasive software), then there's a match made in Hell.

    As I was trying to point out, the US government is already actively trying to out maneuver the EU globally by enforcing international trade agreements with very severe "intellectual property" enforcement policiers.
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  4. #19
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    So I've gotta observe you have it ass-backwards in observing that there is (objectively) some "trend towards less invasive practices". Ass-backward. Completely.
    There is. I didn't say the government had less invasive practices - I said companies do. What are we discussing here? Do you really think the feds give a crap about PunkBuster? How does the federal government have anything to do with this? I'm telling you that as of right now the US government has more on its plate than it can handle and isnt going to get anything done.

    You somehow falsely believe that b/c one country has certain laws that if we have a trade agreement with them we must then pass those same laws. This is utterly absurd. Having come from manufacturing I have firsthand experience what happens when you send an American product overseas. The product must meet the laws and regulations of the country it is being sent to, however, it does not mean that the originating country must have the same laws. The EU has some of the most ignorant laws concerning industrial equipment that you would think they somehow think earth movers should be like automobiles. Because of this we were forced to comply to their laws and add various features and lights that were required in their country. For products going to other US States we did no such thing. The product is all that must meet the regs - and this can be added to any product after the core manuf. process has been completed.

    So whether or not England has this law or that law it is totally irrelevant to the conversation at hand. It is has no bearing on what the US is going to do or not going to do. The US isn't in the habit of passing laws just to be more like the other guy. Each country is different and each country will remain that way. Just b/c the European countries got together one day and pooled their resources under some common banner does not mean the USA is going to do one single thing different because of it.

    As well the privacy laws you are talking about are related to communications and wiretapping. You cannot apply those situations to software to make a point. They are different mediums and different situations.

    They don't have to influence them at all. They just have to get smart and team up with the right people for mutual benefit. So, EA may not care one way or another whether the government spies on you, and many elected politicians may not care one way or the other about people cheating at online games, but if there is a common interest there (the development, implementation, and acceptance of invasive software), then there's a match made in Hell.
    The government is not going to spy on me via video games. Wow - black helicopters must fly over your house everyday or something. Contrary to popular conspiracy theories the government probably doesn't have enough time or manpower to do any such thing. Not to mention it is completely against the Constitution to spy on citizens without due cause - which is why you see all the fallout from the Bush admin's policy of wiretapping. It is illegal.

    As I was trying to point out, the US government is already actively trying to out maneuver the EU globally by enforcing international trade agreements with very severe "intellectual property" enforcement policiers.
    And why do you think they are trying to do that? It is to protect US interests not to spy on citizens. We have always had really odd trade regulations in order to protect our own interests. And they can write as much literature as they want but the logistics of the matter is no one has enough manpower to enforce half the crap that is on the books. I just don't see your point and think you are making a big deal out of nothing here.

    Let's not turn this punkbuster ethics thread into a debate about whether or not your government wants to spy on you or not. I hardly think they are related. PB was invented to stop cheaters...not spy on people. The reasons they scan the drives and so forth is b/c cheaters often use other programs to cheat. However PB has become quite invasive and if they don't stop...well they won't be around b/c no one is going to buy a game with it in it....and no company is going to use PB if it stops people from buying their game. Simple economics.

    What could happen between UK and USA/EU transactions was simply that any UK product would have to strip itself of any invasive DRM features if they wished to export it. Meanwhile any product made in US or EU could be sent to UK with full DRM features. This wouldn't otherwise affect transactions. I can't see how; censored titles are a far worse form of restriction and it happens all the time.
    Yes it does and this is exactly how it is done everyday in every factory in every town USA. It is nothing new and it's certainly not rocket science. I've seen product ship to Dubai, Africa, Germany, England, Russia, etc. All required different things be done prior to shipment and some were required to meet local laws where they would be shipped...not just national laws. All that stuff is figured out and put on the invoice long before it is manufactured. It happens in every industry that has gone global and ships to many countries.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 02-10-2010 at 04:41 PM.

  5. #20
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    Let's not turn this punkbuster ethics thread into a debate about whether or not your government wants to spy on you or not.
    And as you hinted before, it's left to be known if our governments actually would have the capacity. Collecting this kind of data, mining, analysing and interpreting it is a gargantuan task that couldn't go unnoticed by the general population. It seems to me more like an orwellian vision on a theory of conspiracy panflet, than a possible reality. And ignoring the government and moving to the possibility of a lot of mini big brothers in the shape of companies, I find it even more detached from reality, being that their resources are even smaller.

    Instead, the issues of privacy that are brought in by PB and others are centered around our civil rights. This is not about the ability of a company spying on me, it is about the fact that my power to decide what I want to make public about my personal life and what I want to keep private is being removed.

    And this is one of the reasons I reject the argument "I have nothing to hide". I don't either, but that's not what is at stake. Never was. And if it was, then we would need to go back discussing Big Brother because that then would be the root of the problem.

    Instead PB, similar tools and other services were a clear invasion is being performed, strip my civil right to decide on the grade of my public life. This is in any democratic country illegal. So there is no EULA that can make it legal. The reason PB and others do this becomes irrelevant after a certain point. It may be useful to try and understand the problem and fight it there at its root. but for all matters what is at stake right from the start is an infringement of my right to privacy.

    The problem with ethics is that they are, after all, a matter of philosophy. They are however at the base of our judicial systems, which may seem ironic. In any case, PB and others support themselves behind a veil of seemingly ethical behavior to justify their presence. No one likes cheaters, not even cheaters themselves. So it's noble and ethically correct to fight it. But what means justify the ends? Did this ancient question lose its value in the minds of the makers of PB and those including it in their games?

    Obviously. To protect the business, pretty much anything goes until enforcement of the law stops it from happening. This is, after all, one of the building blocks of any commercial power. The thing is by adopting an unethical method to enforce an ethical idea, PB becomes unethical. It's the same thought behind the reasons we do now allow torture of prisoners.

    What I find distressing and worrying are two things:

    - A general acceptance by an important percentage of the society of PB-like activities motivated by the fact its target is in fact mostly teenagers who value more the entertainment aspect of the game, then they care about their civil rights. This implicit acceptance grown from justified ignorance, provides PB-like activities with a tacit validation.

    - The almost complete blind-eye our governments are giving to all of it. But also the society in general. It's actually kind of scary that a tool like PB is actually allowed to circulate among us with very little awareness.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
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    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  6. #21
    the hat of redundancy hat nvoigt's Avatar
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    Despite the need to prevent cheating in online games, is it ethical to include these sorts of clauses in an EULA that the user effectively *has* to accept if they want to play on any decent server (afaik, some games don't even give you an option to not install PB)?
    Is it ethical to scan *all* of your hard disk, and upload any information it feels like?
    Is it ethical to force a user to concede privacy for the operation of their software?
    Lets compare E-Sports to real Sports. In most major leagues or nationwide championships, doping tests are the norm. I don't think it gets any more invasive than getting your blood and testing it. Yet, it is accepted. It may not be ethical, but it's accepted practice to have a sort of "EULA" to sign. If you don't, you may not attend the league/championship.

    While in real life, everyone would agree that when no one is watching your results, cheating is not worth it, in computer games, it's the other way round. If no one is watching (i.e. single player) why would you not cheat?

    Therefore, in real life cheating increases with the possible reward while in online games cheating decreases with the possible chance of detection because in most games the reward stays the same.

    From my point of view it is ethical to scan your entire computer. Because the entire computer can hold parts used for cheating. I agree that scanning someones passwords for online banking while searching for a game cheat is way overblown, but the scanner cannot know what to find or there would be no need for a scanner. If you don't want your online bank account scanned, don't put it where you play your games.

    In the end, it's the users choice. Do I want to have a seperate, clean gaming system? Or would I rather have my private data searched? Or would I like to play on servers/games that only host the scum of the internet testing which cheat beats which? That's my choice.
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  7. #22
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    There is. I didn't say the government had less invasive practices - I said companies do. What are we discussing here? Do you really think the feds give a crap about PunkBuster? How does the federal government have anything to do with this?
    Because as I said once already "the pre-existence and large scale successful implementation of such software only opens the door to further consideration of it's usefulness".

    You somehow falsely believe that b/c one country has certain laws that if we have a trade agreement with them we must then pass those same laws. This is utterly absurd.
    Wrong again. The point of the CAFTA article was that the US would only agree to lower tariffs on Costa Rican sugar if Costa Rica enforces a clone of US copyright law in Costa Rica. Currently, a lot of "intellectual property" that is protected in the US is not protected in the rest of the world. A major purpose of trade agreements is to create "unilateral" policies on certain issues. For example, subsidies are often regulated that way -- which one reason the US subsides domestic food production is to make tariffs on imports an effective bargaining point.

    Just b/c the European countries got together one day and pooled their resources under some common banner does not mean the USA is going to do one single thing different because of it.
    It does when the EU threatens to imposed tariffs on imports from the US -- for example, many of those domestic food subsidies in the US have had to be reduced because of trade agreements such as NAFTA.

    Altho I am actually talking about it the other way around, because my original point was that from everyone else's perspective, the US is actively pursing "more invasive practices" wrt computer privacy around the world.

    You cannot apply those situations to software to make a point. They are different mediums and different situations.
    If you want to be absurd and walk around with your eyes squeezed shut, I could argue that just because an apple falls out of an apple tree does not mean an orange can fall out of an orange tree. They are different species and in different situations, after all.

    Not to mention it is completely against the Constitution to spy on citizens without due cause - which is why you see all the fallout from the Bush admin's policy of wiretapping. It is illegal.
    Wrong still again. The process of retroactively legalizing it has been completed by the Obama administration. It is now perfectly legal.


    It is to protect US interests not to spy on citizens.
    Except when it is in those "US interests" to spy on it's own citizens.

    and no company is going to use PB if it stops people from buying their game. Simple economics.
    Right: so in places where consumers are used to a lower standard of individual freedom, they will be more likely to just bend over for this. Since in this case we are talking of the domestic market, those companies can then go to the government and make the case that the US should be trying to include the enforcement of US style intellectual property rights in trade negotiations. Which as I already demonstrated, is exactly what is happening.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nvoigt View Post
    Lets compare E-Sports to real Sports. In most major leagues or nationwide championships, doping tests are the norm. I don't think it gets any more invasive than getting your blood and testing it. Yet, it is accepted. It may not be ethical, but it's accepted practice to have a sort of "EULA" to sign. If you don't, you may not attend the league/championship.
    In my opinion a better comparison would be that the blood testing is like an anti-cheat scanning the memory space of the game itself. An anti-cheat scanning your whole computer would be like the doping guys searching your entire house and everything else you (and the rest of your family, in the case of a shared computer) own.

    There is no need for an entire computer scan because the cheat has to interact with the game somehow, so scanning the game itself should be enough.

  9. #24
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Somehow I have trouble with any comparison. This notion that taking blood is an invasion of my privacy... ermm, whatever.
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    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  10. #25
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F.
    This notion that taking blood is an invasion of my privacy... ermm, whatever.
    I suppose that with DNA analysis and related techniques it would be an invasion of privacy, but then it can be said that it is the analysis that is the invasion of privacy.
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  11. #26
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    I pondered that possibility. But what is being done is testing blood to find evidence of any illegal agent. In fact, the actual professionals doing the analysis don't even know who the blood belongs too. It's part of the process to guarantee an unbiased analysis. Neither I know of any doping test that ends up in a DNA database (or even that DNA needs to be read to perform a doping test).

    But honestly I don't even understand very well the whole anti-DNA database movement. But that's another story. Instead the word "invasion", it seems to me is being used with a double meaning. It's one thing invasion of privacy, it's another thing invasion of one's body. Different things -- so my criticism of the comparison.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  12. #27
    the hat of redundancy hat nvoigt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by _Mike View Post
    In my opinion a better comparison would be that the blood testing is like an anti-cheat scanning the memory space of the game itself. An anti-cheat scanning your whole computer would be like the doping guys searching your entire house and everything else you (and the rest of your family, in the case of a shared computer) own.

    There is no need for an entire computer scan because the cheat has to interact with the game somehow, so scanning the game itself should be enough.
    Scanning the game is not enough, you need to scan the game's system. In comparison, the locker room. It's not the scanners fault, that people keep all their other stuff on their gaming system. If I keep my private photo's with my sport stuff, it will get found in a scan. That's not the scanners fault, that's my own fault for not protecting my own privacy.

    I pondered that possibility. But what is being done is testing a game system to find evidence of any cheating agent. In fact, the actual programs doing the analysis don't even know who the data belongs too. It's part of the process to guarantee an unbiased analysis. Neither I know of any cheat scan that ends up in a database.
    Sounds familiar?
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  13. #28
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Hehe. Nice one.

    But also not applicable. Do I need to debunk it?
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  14. #29
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    If you want to be absurd and walk around with your eyes squeezed shut, I could argue that just because an apple falls out of an apple tree does not mean an orange can fall out of an orange tree. They are different species and in different situations, after all.
    It is pointless to argue with you since you have an answer for everything. My eyes are wide open my friend. I do, however, think you lack a fundamental understanding of US government, US citizen's rights, and US laws. If you use the media as your sole source for legal information then I pity you.

    Regardless of what you think the US government does not have the right to spy on anyone at anytime. Again I fail to see how this relates to the PunkBuster topic but there you have it.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 02-11-2010 at 09:32 PM.

  15. #30
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F.
    But what is being done is testing blood to find evidence of any illegal agent. In fact, the actual professionals doing the analysis don't even know who the blood belongs too. It's part of the process to guarantee an unbiased analysis. Neither I know of any doping test that ends up in a DNA database (or even that DNA needs to be read to perform a doping test).
    Yes, I think that blind testing and official/legal controls are important aspects of the process, and these help to make such tests acceptable. The professionals do not have a free reign to do what they will with the samples, and any sign of incorrect procedure, tampering or misuse may result in the test results declared as invalid. Thus, nvoigt's use of the analogy to support the scanning of the entire computer is not a very good one.

    Quote Originally Posted by nvoigt
    Sounds familiar?
    No, considering:
    Quote Originally Posted by psychopath
    (2) that Punkbuster will scan (all of) your harddrive and memory, and will upload files/data to their servers for inspection it deems suspicious, (3) that Punkbuster allows server admins to request screenshots from your system, without your knowledge
    Besides, there is likely to be some kind of oversight committee to ensure that procedure and all is followed for drug testing. Who provides such oversight for Punkbuster and friends? You? (After all, if your lack of knowledge of "any cheat scan that ends up in a database" is to be taken seriously, then you must have inside information or information from other reliable sources to know that that is indeed the case, otherwise your lack of knowledge is just ignorance.)
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