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; Considering the fact, that with punkbuster, I can decide what it will scan (by keeping a seperate system or seperate ...

  1. #31
    the hat of redundancy hat nvoigt's Avatar
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    Considering the fact, that with punkbuster, I can decide what it will scan (by keeping a seperate system or seperate data) it feels way less invasive than a blood or urine test where I can not decide which information it will reveal about me. If I were pregnant, it will show. No way to opt out. If I have pictures of the unborn and I don't want them scanned by punkbuster, I don't copy them to my gaming system. I would even call that opt-in.

    I don't have intimate knowledge of punkbuster. Not more than say Ebay or Amazon or Activision. All of those could use the data for illegal purposes. Yes, maybe there is some evil PB developer who is just now playing my Pirates savegame because the program scanned it and decided to steal (copyright infringe?) it. Somehow, the possibility of somebody misusing my credit card data seems more threatening.
    hth
    -nv

    She was so Blonde, she spent 20 minutes looking at the orange juice can because it said "Concentrate."

    When in doubt, read the FAQ.
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  2. #32
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Well consider this nvoigt (just one thought among other issues),

    I'm an ordinary computer user. No special knowledge about its workings. My daughter installs a PB-featured game in my computer and plays with it while I'm at work, hiding it from me. PB does not know the files actually do not belong to the player of the game. A slightly different scenario can be also created in that PB may be inspecting files of programs installed on other user accounts on a family computer at home.

    Also of note the fact PB also inspects virtual memory. Not just the hard drive.

    The issue with PB is not whether or not it is being used by evil gnomes to read our porno. I think a few of us pretty much covered that already when we rejected the idea of the Big Brother (or many mini big brothers). The issue is that you are not given the right to control the grade of your privacy which is exactly what is protected by law. It's all or nothing.


    EDIT: Besides there's one major problem with the Big Brother theory. It puts the burden of proof on our side. So I'm even surprise to see some people actually trying to use this as an argument. It's a bad strategy because of this, but also a bad argument because it is highly questionable and does not focus on the real problem. While the actual protection of individual rights by our laws is not open for debate and thus make a much solid argumentation.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 02-12-2010 at 09:39 AM.
    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.

  3. #33
    the hat of redundancy hat nvoigt's Avatar
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    But in this scenario, it was your daughters fault. If she had left a sharp knife in the living room and you sat on it, it would hardly be the knife's fault. Had she played with fire in the kitchen, it wouldn't have been the kitchens fault. If she had told her best friend your dirtiest secret, it would have been a breach of privacy, too. Her action is the breach of privacy, not the tool. If she is not informed enough about computers, you need an extra gaming system for her to compromise like she pleases.

    You don't need to play a punkbuster enabled game. It's your own free will. If you do, you don't need to share all your data with punkbuster. That's your own free will. It's perfectly legal not to and punkbuster will warn you about it openly.
    hth
    -nv

    She was so Blonde, she spent 20 minutes looking at the orange juice can because it said "Concentrate."

    When in doubt, read the FAQ.
    Then ask a smart question.

  4. #34
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    In order to control the level of privacy on my computer once PB is installed, I'll need special knowledge not related to gaming which is the target of PB. So, I wouldn't say my daughter wields that knife. For that matter, I wouldn't even say an adult with only sufficient knowledge of computers wields any knife either.

    But I do agree that under most circumstances we get to decide whether or not we play a PB-featured game. There's however a problem with the fact that each game is one entity unrelated to any other game; Refusing to buy a game because it has PB is not the same as refusing to buy a certain refrigerator brand and going with another brand. So, if I'm concerned about my privacy, I'll actually be barring my access to a whole individual product that is unlike any other.

    Now, that should be fine. If I don't agree with the terms, I cannot use the product. This much is well understood. But then a few questions arise (because, mind you, as a citizen I should question):

    • Exactly what's the connection between privacy and gaming? And why should there be a connection?
    • Why is that these mechanisms are not implemented on the console market by the exact same games? Why are console users privacy protected, but PC users not?
    • Being the most probably answer to this "because of piracy", why I am being treated as a criminal? Why do I have to surrender my privacy in order to legitimate my person when no other industry in the world does this, when not even law enforcement organizations can do this without a court issued warrant?
    • Why is that these mechanisms which have proven themselves on a constant basis (and without any exception whatsoever in the 3 decades-long computer gaming industry) to fail, keep being implemented?
    • What should stop me from getting myself a pirated version of a computer game? I'm better protected by law by doing this, since only a court order will allow anyone to enter my house and find an illegal game on my hard-drive. My own conscience perhaps? Well, it's wearing thin as time passes because on the other side is not a legitimate action, but instead an unlawful action that infringes my right to privacy, treats me as a criminal, as bars any access to the product even though I only play single-player.


    FWIW, under Portugal legislation DRM measures are considered illegal activities. This much has been already said by numerous constitutionalists. I'll go as far to say the same is the case on a large number of countries, including Germany. In the USA, the only reason why they are considered lawful is, if I'm not mistaken, because of the Digital Milennium Copyright Act, which does not actually say these measures are lawful, but implies acceptance by penalizing any attempts to circumvent them. In Europe, the Copyright Directive has no direct implication of software DRM measures and can even be ignored by member states. Instead, a new directive is under the works that will try to bring all countries legislation together on this issue. But guess what? There will be no such thing as penalizing anti-DRM activities for personal copies, which has a far and wide implications to the gaming industry.

    So, I wouldn't be so convinced PB-like activities are something as simple as "don't like it, don't buy it" as it seems to me is the notion you want to support. They are most probably at best unlawful, at worst downright illegal. Thet certainly do not have tacit approval by the legislators and constitutionalists over here. That alone should speak wonders.

    However I do respect you opinion this issue. Contrary to some critics of DRM activities, I don't consider the fact you support them as being an attack on what I consider my freedoms. But I do return your argument to you: "if you don't like the fact there is no DRM on a game, don't buy it". And because this doesn't make much sense, I hope it gives you an hint as to why this is just not an issue of "don't like it, don't buy it". Your stance goes both ways. You will always be happy. Mine gives me restricted access to a commercial product. And this always warrants very careful thought on any democratic country.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 02-14-2010 at 06:19 AM.
    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.

  5. #35
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Actually that last paragraph makes no sense. You are already limiting your access by defending DRM measures. So there's no need to "return the argument". Ignore 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.

  6. #36
    the hat of redundancy hat nvoigt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    In order to control the level of privacy on my computer once PB is installed, I'll need special knowledge not related to gaming which is the target of PB.
    To keep your computer safe for online banking also requires more knowledge than normal banking does. Doing stuff with computers requires knowledge about computers. If you want to play games only, a gaming console would be more suited, it requires virtually no knowledge at all.

    There's however a problem with the fact that each game is one entity unrelated to any other game; Refusing to buy a game because it has PB is not the same as refusing to buy a certain refrigerator brand and going with another brand. So, if I'm concerned about my privacy, I'll actually be barring my access to a whole individual product that is unlike any other.
    Compare it to a club with house rules. For nudist clubs, all members are required to be nude on the compound. We probably agree that nudity if not voluntary is a huge breach of privacy. But people go there. Voluntarily. You don't like the house rules, you don't join the club. Nothing will hinder you to open your own club and set your own house rules if you don't like the existing ones. Same with games. You don't like it? Buy one you like, if there is none, publish your own. You cannot force private companies or even clubs (in my time, punkbuster was an additional feature installed by the server admins) to not set rules.


    Exactly what's the connection between privacy and gaming? And why should there be a connection?
    The connection is that privacy has been misused by so many people, that misuse became the norm rather than the exception. Privacy is protection for every one and we accept that under this protection some crimes will go unnoticed. However, if every single citizen started dealing drugs, we would probably think different about "privacy". When programs like PB started, you could not join a server of 10 with at least 3 people openly cheating. Why? Because they could.

    Why is that these mechanisms are not implemented on the console market by the exact same games? Why are console users privacy protected, but PC users not?
    Because cheating in multiplayer console games is so difficult that most people don't. You have to modify your console to cheat. With your PC, all you have to do is run an installer from the internet. There simply is no reason to scan console players.


    Being the most probably answer to this "because of piracy", why I am being treated as a criminal? Why do I have to surrender my privacy in order to legitimate my person when no other industry in the world does this, when not even law enforcement organizations can do this without a court issued warrant?
    No, piracy has nothing to do with punkbuster. The game itself checks if everybody is a legit user, then punkbuster checks if all legit users are playing fair.

    I do not support DRM. I support PB and their likes. Because they do fundamentally different things. If I play a game, I want it to be free of cheaters. For this, I am willing to sacrifice my privacy concerning the gaming machine. Like I would do a drug test before a race or be checked for cheat sheets before an exam.

    Maybe you have to experience what playing without punkbuster was like. This is the internet, with anonymous scum and villainy just around the corner and with people who think it's fun to ruin other peoples playing experience. Without punkbuster, you could not play a single game without a cheater or two. And it's not fun to lose 10 rounds 0-5 just because the other team has a guy who can teleport, look through walls and is uanable to miss a shot. Most rounds were decided by the team that had the better cheater. And with privacy you couldn't even get hold of those people. You had no ID. Kick him? Sure. He'll be back in 2 minutes under a different name when he's resetted his router to get a new IP. No thanks, I'll gladly give up the privacy of my gaming machine to play a fair game.
    hth
    -nv

    She was so Blonde, she spent 20 minutes looking at the orange juice can because it said "Concentrate."

    When in doubt, read the FAQ.
    Then ask a smart question.

  7. #37
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Your points are challenging nvoigt, I concede there.

    All in all we are being forced into this situation over a lack of technical solutions to the problem. Yet I'm afraid, as a single-player, I shouldn't be forced PB or any other anti-cheating mechanisms that base themselves on an infringement of my privacy, since they do not apply to my use of the games. As is highly regrettable they are being forced also if I wish to play over LAN connections (which on a few games I do in fact).

    As you may suspect, I don't need to experience what it was playing without punkbuster. What in fact I know very little about is what it is like to play with punkbuster. And that's one decision I don't regret the least.
    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.

  8. #38
    the hat of redundancy hat nvoigt's Avatar
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    You are absolutely right, as a single player, you should never be forced to use any cheat control software. That makes absolutely no sense. In a singleplayer game, even assuming a working internet connection or requiring an authentication mechanism outside of my control is a reason to not buy the game. I'm playing games who's publishers have long gone the way of the dodo. The still run, they are still fun, even if only in 256 colors. If a game today cannot deliver this, I won't buy it.

    It's been a few years since I played the last online FPS (CS/Battlefield '42), in my time, it was the server admins decision if he enforced Punkbuster. If you didn't like PB, you could also join a server without it. You were the only one not cheating, but hey, if someone thinks it's fun... since PB came out, I only played on PB enabled servers. And it's been a lot better without the jerks. From my point of view, multiplayer gaming with one party cheating is not worth my time. I'd rather not play, than play a cheater. Because it really only needs a single cheater to ruin the game for 63 other people.
    hth
    -nv

    She was so Blonde, she spent 20 minutes looking at the orange juice can because it said "Concentrate."

    When in doubt, read the FAQ.
    Then ask a smart question.

  9. #39
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nvoigt View Post
    I'm playing games who's publishers have long gone the way of the dodo.
    Speaking of which (and going off-topic), EA has released just recently Westwood Studio's Command & Conquer Red Alert, Tiberian Dawn and Tiberian Sun + Firestorm for free.

    Command & Conquer Classic | Command & Conquer
    Last edited by Mario F.; 02-15-2010 at 05:57 PM.
    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.

  10. #40
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    I couldn't miss this parallel, vis the idea that if we can make it okay, then it will be okay.

    The story is about a school district in Pennsylvania, USA, which loaned laptops to students to take home with them, including covert webcam software which could be activated by the school administrators. AOK!

    School district admits installing covert webcam activation software on student laptops, denies wrongdoing Boing Boing

    Maybe I'm old fashioned but IMO if you can convince yourself of this much "semantic drift" you don't need a brain, you just need a QWERTY style weegee board.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

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