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Valve on Epic Games Store and Steam Data

Bleeping Computer has a statement from Valve responding to the recent news that the Epic Games Store may be accessing Steam data files for some users (thanks Eurogamer). Epic has stated this is innocuous, and requires user consent, but Valve expresses concern nonetheless. Here's what they say about the situation:

We are looking into what information the Epic launcher collects from Steam.

The Steam Client locally saves data such as the list of games you own, your friends list and saved login tokens (similar to information stored in web browser cookies). This is private user data, stored on the user's home machine and is not intended to be used by other programs or uploaded to any 3rd party service.

Interested users can find localconfig.vdf and other Steam configuration files in their Steam Client’s installation directory and open them in a text editor to see what data is contained in these files. They can also view all data related to their Steam account at: https://help.steampowered.com/en/accountdata.

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41 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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41. Re: Out of the Blue Mar 19, 2019, 07:28 MrBone
 
Kxmode wrote on Mar 18, 2019, 05:06:
Avus wrote on Mar 18, 2019, 00:29:
The Steam haters in this site are actually side with software with malware properties because they hate Steam so much...

That's rich considering the vast majority of my library is on Steam and it is my preferred place to buy games. But I am not a "kool-aid" drinker for or against Epic or Steam. I just cut through all the BS and say what I see. Both Epic and Steam are at fault here. The victim is the customer and their privacy.

Relax kid, you’ll give yourself a seizure with all that excitement.
 
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40. Re: Out of the Blue Mar 19, 2019, 02:26 eRe4s3r
 
RedEye9 wrote on Mar 18, 2019, 11:10:
eRe4s3r wrote on Mar 18, 2019, 01:21:
Kxmode wrote on Mar 17, 2019, 18:44:
Titus wrote on Mar 17, 2019, 18:36:
Kxmode wrote on Mar 17, 2019, 18:31:
Instead of a house with less security analogy, I'd use an illustration of putting the furniture on the lawn and then acting surprised that it's gone the next day.
Even if I did, it would still be theft if you took it. In America, I would even be in my right to shoot you if you tried.

You're not understanding the point of the illustration. The point is you (Valve) the homeowner (aka Steam) placed your furniture (the user's data) on the lawn (local hard drive), so don't be surprised if it's gone the next day (EGS accessing the information). Put away your weapon (it's not strictly speaking illegal, but it is immortal. Valve will need to take action to protect local-storage data).

The funny thing is that you are by accident correct, this is a file owned by Valve and Valve is the one who has copyright on it, the file falls under Steam TOS privacy and access rules too. So in essence it's not even relevant if Epic asks YOU, because it's not YOUR file to give access to, but rather Valves.

Just wanna point out this kind of 3rd party scraping is a huge legal grey-area and the moment you copy a file you don't own the copyright off you are a dirty dirty pirate. And yes, that's why I think Epic is backpaddling and PR controlling so hard on this.
Thanks for pointing that out and clarifying it.

Services provided require payments, I take 2 caramel donuts and a hug.
 
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39. Re: Out of the Blue Mar 18, 2019, 11:10 RedEye9
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Mar 18, 2019, 01:21:
Kxmode wrote on Mar 17, 2019, 18:44:
Titus wrote on Mar 17, 2019, 18:36:
Kxmode wrote on Mar 17, 2019, 18:31:
Instead of a house with less security analogy, I'd use an illustration of putting the furniture on the lawn and then acting surprised that it's gone the next day.
Even if I did, it would still be theft if you took it. In America, I would even be in my right to shoot you if you tried.

You're not understanding the point of the illustration. The point is you (Valve) the homeowner (aka Steam) placed your furniture (the user's data) on the lawn (local hard drive), so don't be surprised if it's gone the next day (EGS accessing the information). Put away your weapon (it's not strictly speaking illegal, but it is immortal. Valve will need to take action to protect local-storage data).

The funny thing is that you are by accident correct, this is a file owned by Valve and Valve is the one who has copyright on it, the file falls under Steam TOS privacy and access rules too. So in essence it's not even relevant if Epic asks YOU, because it's not YOUR file to give access to, but rather Valves.

Just wanna point out this kind of 3rd party scraping is a huge legal grey-area and the moment you copy a file you don't own the copyright off you are a dirty dirty pirate. And yes, that's why I think Epic is backpaddling and PR controlling so hard on this.
Thanks for pointing that out and clarifying it.
 
Avatar 58135
 
"The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you." Neil deGrasse Tyson
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38. Re: Valve on Epic Games Store and Steam Data Mar 18, 2019, 11:06 Armengar
 
encrypt it. Non encrypted data is just lazy programming.  
Its not the cough that carries you off but the coffin they carry you off in.
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37. Re: Valve on Epic Games Store and Steam Data Mar 18, 2019, 07:21 Kain
 
Valve already exposes an API for developers and other software to use, there is no valid excuse for this behavior. Regardless of how one feels about Steam or the EGS it's just a shitty thing to do.  
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36. Re: Valve on Epic Games Store and Steam Data Mar 18, 2019, 07:14 Taulin
 
For Windows apps, you are supposed to store all user specific data in the 'local folder', which is your user's data folder under documents. I can't remember, but I thought it was protected, or difficult, to access the Local storage of other apps when you do it the right way. Steam says they store the data in the same directory as the app, which is easily accessible. So at least for Windows app, that is the first ding toward them.

Searching through other's files is brittle at best, and should be deemed black hat, so Epics actions should be noted as bad.

EA's launcher already listed games I bought through Steam it supported, so I am curious how it gathered that information of mine. I've haven't seen any news about it scrapping other's files.
 
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35. Re: Out of the Blue Mar 18, 2019, 05:12 Kxmode
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Mar 18, 2019, 01:21:
Kxmode wrote on Mar 17, 2019, 18:44:
You're not understanding the point of the illustration. The point is you (Valve) the homeowner (aka Steam) placed your furniture (the user's data) on the lawn (local hard drive), so don't be surprised if it's gone the next day (EGS accessing the information). Put away your weapon (it's not strictly speaking illegal, but it is immortal. Valve will need to take action to protect local-storage data).

Just wanna point out this kind of 3rd party scraping is a huge legal grey-area and the moment you copy a file you don't own the copyright off you are a dirty dirty pirate.

That's what "it's not strictly speaking illegal" means from my original post (see the quote). Your "just wanna point out" is appreciated but not needed.
 
Avatar 18786
 
William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 — Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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34. Re: Out of the Blue Mar 18, 2019, 05:06 Kxmode
 
Avus wrote on Mar 18, 2019, 00:29:
The Steam haters in this site are actually side with software with malware properties because they hate Steam so much...

That's rich considering the vast majority of my library is on Steam and it is my preferred place to buy games. But I am not a "kool-aid" drinker for or against Epic or Steam. I just cut through all the BS and say what I see. Both Epic and Steam are at fault here. The victim is the customer and their privacy.
 
Avatar 18786
 
William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 — Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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33. Re: Valve on Epic Games Store and Steam Data Mar 18, 2019, 04:27 Prez
 
I despise the way epic is going about its "competition" (exclusivity is the very antithesis of competition imo) but I'm not all that bent out of shape about this. I share my Steam data with a bunch of places as it makes things easier. Isthereanydeal, for example, uses it to exclude games you already own from the deals it lists, making the database of current sales much more manageable.  
Avatar 17185
 
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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32. Re: Out of the Blue Mar 18, 2019, 01:21 eRe4s3r
 
Kxmode wrote on Mar 17, 2019, 18:44:
Titus wrote on Mar 17, 2019, 18:36:
Kxmode wrote on Mar 17, 2019, 18:31:
Instead of a house with less security analogy, I'd use an illustration of putting the furniture on the lawn and then acting surprised that it's gone the next day.
Even if I did, it would still be theft if you took it. In America, I would even be in my right to shoot you if you tried.

You're not understanding the point of the illustration. The point is you (Valve) the homeowner (aka Steam) placed your furniture (the user's data) on the lawn (local hard drive), so don't be surprised if it's gone the next day (EGS accessing the information). Put away your weapon (it's not strictly speaking illegal, but it is immortal. Valve will need to take action to protect local-storage data).

The funny thing is that you are by accident correct, this is a file owned by Valve and Valve is the one who has copyright on it, the file falls under Steam TOS privacy and access rules too. So in essence it's not even relevant if Epic asks YOU, because it's not YOUR file to give access to, but rather Valves.

Just wanna point out this kind of 3rd party scraping is a huge legal grey-area and the moment you copy a file you don't own the copyright off you are a dirty dirty pirate. And yes, that's why I think Epic is backpaddling and PR controlling so hard on this.
 
Avatar 54727
 
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31. Re: Evening Legal Briefs Mar 18, 2019, 00:54 JTW
 
It's funny. I remember when Steam was a brand new thing. The paranoia and conspiracy theories, the complaints, the 'end of the world' mentality we're seeing with Epic now? Exactly the same stuff.  
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30. Re: Out of the Blue Mar 18, 2019, 00:29 Avus
 
The Steam haters in this site are actually side with software with malware properties because they hate Steam so much...  
Avatar 58298
 
“I am not a Mac user unless under duress.” - John Carmack
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29. Re: Out of the Blue Mar 18, 2019, 00:26 Kxmode
 
Frijoles wrote on Mar 17, 2019, 23:47:
Kxmode wrote on Mar 17, 2019, 18:31:
In other words, Valve has made no attempts to secure the information they're storing in a file on the user's computer. So obviously there's no surprise when a third-party company comes along and uses it.

I don't encrypt my spreadsheets on my PC either. Is it ok for Epic to suck those up as well? I mean, they aren't protected right?

No, it's not. However, if they can access it, then the blame is equal parts yours as well as theirs. The bottom line is this is not an Epic-only issue, but a case of Valve's apathy towards doing something about user data in the wake of Facebook and other well-known data breaches from the past decade and the growing sentiment toward better privacy. On the one hand, Epic will be forced to change what they're doing. On the other Valve is going to need to encrypt and lock down user data. They are both at fault but for different reasons.
 
Avatar 18786
 
William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 — Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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28. Re: Out of the Blue Mar 17, 2019, 23:47 Frijoles
 
Kxmode wrote on Mar 17, 2019, 18:31:
In other words, Valve has made no attempts to secure the information they're storing in a file on the user's computer. So obviously there's no surprise when a third-party company comes along and uses it.

I don't encrypt my spreadsheets on my PC either. Is it ok for Epic to suck those up as well? I mean, they aren't protected right? Why haven't virus makers thought of this amazing defense?
 
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27. Re: Valve on Epic Games Store and Steam Data Mar 17, 2019, 20:19 StaTik
 
I was wondering how my email address had a dummy epic account .  
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26. Re: Out of the Blue Mar 17, 2019, 19:13 Titus
 
Here's where you go wrong: As a consumer my computer is my home. If one of my guests (EGS) is sneaking around stealing (data) from my home, it is still theft. There's no defense blaming another guest's security (Steam) that I allowed to hold it while it was still in my house. Any legal issue between the other guest and me is a completely separate issue.

Anything else is untenable. If Valve did encrypt the information, how good would it have needed to be ? If EGS uploaded the information to their server encrypted, and is able to decrypt it there ? Still not theft ? Of course it is.

No one cares how someone has stolen something, if it's clearly someone else's property not intended to be to be theirs.

Look what hackers are prosecuted for if they would do something like that on a corporation's server. Even if they had guest privileges on a system to begin with. The laws are the same for our systems. Corporations just know consumers don't have the clout to make a case against them. That doesn't make it right though.

This comment was edited on Mar 17, 2019, 19:30.
 
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25. Re: Valve on Epic Games Store and Steam Data Mar 17, 2019, 18:57 Acleacius
 
WaltC wrote on Mar 17, 2019, 18:05:
Acleacius wrote on Mar 17, 2019, 17:12:

I used to have respect for sweeney, since he didn't dick around the customers and fans, like carmack but this epic store crap has certainly changed my opinion.

I don't recall hearing Steam was literally buying off developers to only sell on Steam. It could have happened but I just don't know about it. Yet sweeney is trying to act like 'oh everyone does it and Steam can do it too if they want" (obviously not a direct quote).

Millions of people, including me, were forced to write Epic off as he dropped the "PC" for the easy $ on the extant consoles way back when. Like Carmack, the PC customer base put Sweeney on the map--so, yes, he drops them--makes sense [not.] Now that Sweeney has been proven wrong in all of his prognostications 20 years ago (that by now there'd be no discrete GPUs as everything would be IGP and there'd be no "PC" market as consoles would rule)--he's had to come kicking and screaming *back* into the same "x86 PC" customer base he dropped years ago--because the PC rules today--it has absorbed the console market completely (consoles are all x86 PCs designed and manufactured by AMD.) Why Sweeney couldn't see this back then--I did and said so, often, at the time--beats me. Perhaps he had some exceptionally poor advice whispered into his ears at the time. But still, he should have known better. Such a pity that after Unreal and its expansion that Epic dropped it for the shooting-fish-in-a-barrel games--the many, many games like that to come out of Epic. The original Unreal tournament was "OK" but not in the class of Unreal, imo. The UTs that followed were--well, I thought they were Quake/Doom copycats more or less. But all of that is water over the dam.

I think what Epic is doing is simple: it wants to cut costs so that it can drastically undercut full services like GOG and Steam in terms of what Epic charges developers. Will this affect end prices to consumers? I doubt it. But anyway, in order to do this Epic will have to cut services like user forums and other things people have become accustomed to--or else Epic will have to tighten its belt and offer these services anyway while taking a big cut in the money it earns in order to supplement the developers Epic is trying to attract. Competition is always good, I believe, but I can't see how Epic is going to work around offering services like *forums* to its customers while still offering big discounts to gaming customers. Should be interesting to watch!...;)
Got to say, that's a pretty damn good assessment. I had forgotten about some of the things but it was so easy to focus on cliffy constantly making bad decisions.
 
Avatar 1858
 
people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.
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24. Re: Out of the Blue Mar 17, 2019, 18:44 Kxmode
 
Titus wrote on Mar 17, 2019, 18:36:
Kxmode wrote on Mar 17, 2019, 18:31:
Instead of a house with less security analogy, I'd use an illustration of putting the furniture on the lawn and then acting surprised that it's gone the next day.
Even if I did, it would still be theft if you took it. In America, I would even be in my right to shoot you if you tried.

You're not understanding the point of the illustration. The point is you (Valve) the homeowner (aka Steam) placed your furniture (the user's data) on the lawn (local hard drive), so don't be surprised if it's gone the next day (EGS accessing the information). Put away your weapon (it's not strictly speaking illegal, but it is immortal. Valve will need to take action to protect local-storage data).
 
Avatar 18786
 
William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 — Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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23. Re: Out of the Blue Mar 17, 2019, 18:36 Titus
 
Kxmode wrote on Mar 17, 2019, 18:31:
Instead of a house with less security analogy, I'd use an illustration of putting the furniture on the lawn and then acting surprised that it's gone the next day.
Even if I did, it would still be theft if you took it. In America, I would even be in my right to shoot you if you tried.
 
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22. Re: Out of the Blue Mar 17, 2019, 18:31 Kxmode
 
Titus wrote on Mar 17, 2019, 18:18:
Kxmode wrote on Mar 17, 2019, 18:01:
Just saying the blame is equal parts Valve's as it is EGS.
No, it's not equal parts. At all. You're still trying to defend burglary by saying the locks weren't secure. You shouldn't have been in the house to begin with.

Instead of a house with less security analogy, I'd use an illustration of putting the furniture on the lawn and then acting surprised that it's gone the next day. In other words, Valve has made no attempts to secure the information they're storing in a file on the user's computer. So obviously there's no surprise when a third-party company comes along and uses it. Like I said it is equal parts the fault of Valve and Epic and one Valve is likely to remedy quickly.

That said, if there's no explicit permission asked by the EGS to import Steam information and the permission to do so is buried somewhere in the EULA, then this would constitute a legal, albeit unethical data breach.
 
Avatar 18786
 
William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 — Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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