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Blizzard Deems Authenticator Lawsuit 'Frivolous'

Well, that didn’t take long. Hackers sneaked past Blizzard’s hyper-sophisticated security system – presumably by cinematically lowering themselves from a cyber-ceiling to avoid all the e-lasers – and people weren’t too terribly happy about that. Unsurprisingly, a couple of them decided to sue. Unsurprisingly-er, Blizzard’s replied not by groveling and begging for heartfelt forgiveness, but instead by whipping out its fightin’ words pistols and shooting down the whole thing.

Blizzard recently released a statement on the matter, and it didn’t leave much room for compromise. Foremost, the Titan-developing titan declared the suit “without merit and filled with patently false information.” Here are the other key bits:

“The suit’s claim that we didn’t properly notify players regarding the August 2012 security breach is not true. Not only did Blizzard act quickly to provide information to the public about the situation, we explained the actions we were taking and let players know how the incident affected them, including the fact that no names, credit card numbers, or other sensitive financial information was disclosed.”

“The suit also claims that the Battle.net Authenticator is required in order to maintain a minimal level of security on the player’s Battle.net account information that’s stored on Blizzard’s network systems. This claim is also completely untrue and apparently based on a misunderstanding of the Authenticator’s purpose… Considering that players are ultimately responsible for securing their own computers, and that the extra step required by the Authenticator is an added inconvenience during the log in process, we ultimately leave it up to the players to decide whether they want to add an Authenticator to their account. However, we always strongly encourage it, and we try to make it as easy as possible to do.”

Blizzard concluded by deeming the lawsuit’s claims “frivolous” and noted that it plans to “vigorously defend itself” in the event of any resulting legalities. And while it’s true that Blizzard was fairly communicative when the breach occurred, this response still doesn’t really do a great job of addressing why Authenticators are so potentially problematic. I mean, they are required for certain game features. Blizzard throws around the word “optional” when referring to the tiny plasticine gate guard to its massive virtual worlds, but I’d say that’s stretching the definition pretty far.

Moreover, users might be responsible for securing their machines, but Blizzard should absolutely, unquestionably bear the burden of locking down its products. In the statement, however, it attempts to blur the lines between those two sides, and the result comes off as more than a little disingenuous. Speaking personally, I think the lawsuit’s overreaching and a couple of its demands are hilariously outrageous (No Battle.net for any and all non-MMOs? Really?), but some of those concerns definitely warrant further examination.

Even if this one fails to get off the ground, here’s hoping it results in some kind of mentality shift at Blizzard. Because there’s reason for concern here, and the blue behemoth’s willingness to dismiss it so casually leaves a pretty yucky taste in my mouth.

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