ERIC SHEFFERMAN <DOT> COM

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Privacy is Dead, but seriously Atari.com WTF???

I have long felt that privacy is dead and I have started to put together a 30+ part series on privacy is dead because it pops up everywhere, but this just takes the cake and eats it too.

Atari is:

  1. apparently in business – who knew?
  2. has Nolan Bushnell speaking for it (I have no idea what his level of involvement is)
  3. releasing some neat HTML5 code to make it easier to make games in javascript called the Atari Arcade SDK and CreateJS

http://www.atari.com/arcade/developers/

http://createjs.com/#!/CreateJS

and you can currently play these remakes of classic Atari games
(the technology is cool, the gameplay is like the programmers had no idea what was fun about the original games)

http://www.atari.com/arcade#!/arcade/atari-promo

Now, I’ve thought javascript was a crappy idea since forever and it used to run REALLY slow, but I guess everyone is all hopped up on it for all sorts of modern stuff and hopefully it is being made to run better and faster. Although my gmail still annoyingly crashes every once in a while.

I guess anything is better than flash.

Anyway, it seemed like it was useful to create an account on atari.com. First name, last name, and birthday are all required fields. OK fine. I expect that. But I didn’t expect them to PUBLISH that info. WTF???

They proudly created this page for me to TELL EVERYONE my name and birthday:

http://www.atari.com/users/ericshefferman

Rilly? Srsly?

At least if you’re going to make my birthday public info, let me have a link to my amazon wishlist on the page so that creepy strangers/stalkers can buy me a present!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/101YAFO7U4CN2/ref=topnav_lists_2

Oh… but you, my gentle reader, can buy me a present and it won’t be creepy at all!
Please, go ahead! Even if it isn’t my birthday!

When you’re done you can come back and finish reading this article and then even send me an email (I just fixed my contact form that was killed by JetPack) via the Contact Eric Shefferman page.

Ah – but back to bitching about Atari:

Look at this pretty page they made just for me right here:

http://www.atari.com/users/ericshefferman

This is how Atari displays my info. I expect this kind of shit, but somebody is gonna freak out when Atari is giving out their 14 year old daughter’s full name and birthday…

Now, I’ve been a semi-public-figure for a long time — but most people aren’t and probably don’t want to be. And they certainly don’t want their small children to be public figures. Get a kid’s name and birthday and you’re a good way towards getting them to climb into a van with you.

Atari.com’s privacy policy says “We don’t knowingly collect personal information from children under 13.” but still I bet most parents won’t feel better about that once they see Atari is publishing the birthday of their 14 year old.

They say here http://www.atari.com/privacy-policy

Q3. How is your personally identifiable information used and shared?
A3. We don’t share, sell, or rent your personal information to third parties without your consent. We don’t require personal information to access our website. However, if you prefer not to disclose personal information, you will not be able to enjoy certain features of our website.Whatever the purpose may be, we will only collect information to the extent reasonably necessary to fulfill your requests and our legitimate business objectives.

Um… yeah Atari.

You are fucking PUBLISHING this information to the whole fucking internet — which is every third party on the planet Earth PLUS all the aliens that are “listening in.” I did not consent to that.

You don’t need my birthday to let me play your meh new version of Asteroids (sorry, the technology of making HTML5 games is cool but the games you put up have piss poor gameplay) and you certainly don’t need to tell everybody my birthday.

AGAIN… unless, of course, you’re looking to buy me birthday presents. Then all is forgiven because I like presents. Especially from space aliens.

Screencap of the privacy policy I quoted above. If my birthday is personal information that they aren’t sharing with third parties, then why is it on a public website?

Two things in this world that are long since dead are privacy and personal security. Still, there’s no reason to do something as overt as requiring a user to sign up with their full name and birthday and then turn right around and publish that info. Nobody is expecting that kind of privacy betrayal.

Tweet this crap:

Privacy is dead, but don’t flaunt it. @ericshefferman http://wp.me/pt6lP-cz

Funny, on their Terms of Service

http://www.atari.com/tos

they say:

7. Personal Safety

When using the Service, please be certain that anything that you say does not compromise your personal safety. Do not provide your name, phone number, postal or e-mail address, your password, or any other personally identifying information to people you do not know. Do not continue any conversation online that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Screencap:

But on the profile page they require you to enter a first name, last name, and date of birth. They don’t give you any option to hide this information. That seems pretty personally identifiable to me and they did ask for my name and birthday from a position of “I should trust Atari” without saying that they were the ones who were going to provide it to people I don’t know.

  1. For most people I guess it’s best not to use a username like ericshefferman, but it is so gosh darn easy for me to remember. That’s on me – but again, I’m used to being a public figure anyway. I expected my username to be publically visible.
  2. For most people I guess the best action is to always lie about your name and date of birth whenever you are asked even if it is required and seems important. Of course, the 10 year old kids using the site already have to do that. It’s only those over 13 kids who might not realize…

This is what’s considered normal now. There is no privacy.

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Category: Internet Marketing, Privacy, Rants

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