Activision is trying to locate its Call of Duty leaker via Reddit subpoenas

It's both less dumb and more dumb than it sounds.

    
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Someone called us? Something about some duty?

Yes, that headline is true. Activision is attempting to track down the mysterious person who leaked the cover art of the next Call of Duty by issuing subpoenas to Reddit. Whether or not these subpoenas are going to have any actual effect is more of an open question; certainly Activision wants Reddit’s owners to do something, but technically Reddit never hosted the images in question and the thread simply linked to the image hosted elsewhere.

It turns out this sort of situation does actually have legal precedent, which is actually on Reddit’s side following an issue with a former Jehovah’s Witness remaining anonymous. Activision has been having no small number of issues with leaks regarding new Call of Duty content, including the upcoming battle royale mode getting leaked, which means one can understand why the company would want to find out who’s responsible for all of these internal leaks; unfortunately for the company, this may not be the path to doing so.

Source: Gizmodo

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IronSalamander8 .

What’s there to leak about CoD? Just take every previous CoD, tweak a couple things, and you’re done.

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Adam Russell

Subpoena the internet!

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Armsman

I’m sure this is just to get ‘free pres’ for their new CoD.

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Aiun Tanks

I guess they subscribe to the, “There’s no such thing as bad press,” philosophy.

Relmharver
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Relmharver

Activision is just going to come out looking like they’re picking on a little fish here. Their best bet would be to just let it go.

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Armsbend

Seeing how developers have moved virtually all of the shoddy QA work to hapless consumers – I really don’t care when those people break NDAs. I could not care any less how much or how often these developers are harmed. I place no morality on the subject at all.

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Gonsec

Non Disclosure Agreements (NDA) are pretty much worthless. Courts throw them out all the time. Inventors are the ones harmed most by this.

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Utakata

I suspect this is more a power trip exercise to suggest to anyone breaking the NDA, that they’ll hunt them to the furthest reaches of the galaxy if they can… o.O

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traja

Considering how much they complained about leaks during the last Blizzcon that would seem quite likely. At the very least the person would be fired and the idea of a lawsuit is scary even if you think that you would win the case. It would still mean likely tens of thousands of dollars spent on lawyers fees.

It is ridiculously easy to hide your tracks though so I doubt that any scare tactic will work. People will just use a VPN.

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NeoWolf

Not entirely true, depends on the circumstances as well as the info involved, its value, the harm done, the cirumstances of the leak, the length of time involved (most NDA’s have an expiry date) etc.. there are many mitigating factors in considering the validity of an NDA breach but they can nevertheless be very enforceable.

For example The Official Trades Secrets Act is essentially an NDA I wouldn’t recommend breaking that lol

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Robert Mann

Also, @ Eliot: Your second link here goes to coronavirus FF stuff, rather than the J.W. stuff.

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Robert Mann

Also, now that I have found the court rulings, I had a giant facepalm moment.

The courts seriously ruled that as anonymous free speech as a right? Great! Now we have precedent, so no matter what anyone says in any way where they aren’t initially identified they have a right to remain anonymous! Go ahead, phone in a bomb threat from a public phone! You are protected! *Please don’t, but that is the level of ridiculous the court ruling actually was.*

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Jeremy Barnes

Of course, anonymous speech is a right. Oh, let’s say I criticize the current god emperor of Dune and he decides that he’s going to sue me…even if there’s no case, the legal proceeding would have a severe impact on my life.

Or…let’s say I work for a company that’s done a bunch of research on how to target people with gambling addictions to spend money on gacha mechanics. Leaking that is a good thing.

There’s a reason the supreme court ruled this way multiple times. The United States was founded by people who believed strongly in anonymous free speech. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote the Federalist Papers with pseudonyms to remain anonymous.

Common Sense, written by Thomas Paine, and responsible for urging the states towards the American Revolution, was published anonymously in 1776.

I can’t properly communicate how disappointing it is that someone who apparently shares the hobby of playing online games with other people where you make a pseudonym and remain anonymous to the majority of people you play with…somehow doesn’t think that’s important. Real ID much?

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Robert Mann

Real ID showed it to random people. Authority, and random people… two different things. I’m very much against every person knowing your personal details. I’m also very much for having real life connected to what you do online.

Why? Because there’s only two things that keep people relatively civil. One is choice. The other is consequence. If it doesn’t hurt to be an arse, then more people outside the few who will anyway will be arses.

There’s a middle ground with almost everything. I can only reply that I am equally disappointed that people continue to fail to aim toward that, which is where common sense usually lies.

Here’s the thing… so long as you can be anonymous you can instigate anything freely. You can be the most vile person imaginable, harming others through manipulation, and never suffer for it in turn. That is unacceptable. I agree with avoiding names for the general populace (in fact, I wish criminal names were omitted to avoid any fame or infamy). I don’t agree with allowing people to avoid responsibility for their choices, and their words ARE a choice. At the same time, I do want to protect people telling about other crimes, because that’s base logic on how you get people who are willing to help others not be victims.

Questions on why you completely failed to get my position earlier?

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Jeremy Barnes

Your position is quite clear. “Authority” should make the decisions on what information they’re allowed to have about people to ensure that only the information they want to be distributed is what gets out to the public.

You can’t protect anonymity ‘some of the time’. You either protect it or you don’t. Anecdotes about the possible parade of horribles and “Won’t someone think of the children?!” don’t hold up under scrutiny.

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Robert Mann

I don’t believe that we can maintain the anonymous nature of the internet, and that the negatives of trying are far worse than having some regulation and requirement for us to be trackable when needed for legal purposes.

As to what the public sees, the difference is zero. Anything that would be leaked, or stolen, already exists online through accounts you sign into.

But sure, let’s allow all the bad behavior in the name of protecting people from nothing…

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Robert Mann

As much as Activision is a bunch of jerks, this should go solidly on their side. Not necessarily as a judgment against Reddit, but rather as a portion of the future we need for the internet.

Scumbaggery and such are rampant at this point, and far worse than some corporation that says crummy things, puts out crummy work, and somehow still exists. It’s frequently worse that we lack identity on the internet so much, as we see many actions that are far more damaging than any monetization model.

Leaks, well, are generally about worthless. Getting to see something a little earlier is just MEH. MEH I say. It’s not like it changes anything, it’s on par with epeen in terms of pure and utter pointlessness for both ends.

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traja

What other copyright related things are you talking about that rely on anonymity? Surely you don’t think that a leak like this is worse than what Activision Blizzard does?

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Robert Mann

I wasn’t narrowing the focus to copyright related things. I am pointing at internet anonymity as a whole.

Acti-Blizz do some very crummy stuff, and this leak is a relatively minor thing (although still wrong to do, honestly, but more akin to going 15 over rather than running people down with your car); however the focus I have is on the situation as a whole. I’m neither going to protect Acti-Blizz from the ire of customers, nor excuse actions that are wrong in turn. I am, instead, stating that the anonymity of the internet continues to be a problem (for big business, and for things outside of big business). This is piddly stuff, but it’s still a breach of trust that shows a major problem. It also isn’t exactly something anyone should care that much about. Getting to see cover art a few months early? Nah, let them remove that person. Releasing data about abuse happening at the company? We need laws to protect people involved and deal justice.

In short, the rarity of the motivation of big business bringing something positive to people might just happen. That’s assuming that efforts don’t take a turn for the worse with regulations, and that was why I noted potential negatives as well.

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traja

Maybe I missed it but I am not really seeing examples of anonymity being a serious problem. Corporate leaks are certainly not that.

I limited it to copyright since you were praising Activision Blizzard for using the DMCA to fight anonymity. That is specifically a copyright act so for that to be a good thing the ills that are being fought have to be copyright related.

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Robert Mann

I’m talking internet anonymity vs. responsibility for one’s words and actions in general. This is a slap on the wrist thing. I’m not specifically praising Acti-Blizz. I’m praising the idea of making people who are harmful toward others online responsible for their choice.

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traja

There are of course cases where anonymity is harmful. Swatting for example. However I don’t really see how those are solved by the DMCA. It would appear to me that it can only work in favor of the already powerful.

This is one such potential example. The person who leaked the image could be facing life changing consequences, and not for the better. He or she would almost certainly be fired and a lawsuit is not out of the question. Lawyers feels alone would range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Is that really a good thing considering that this is a multi billion dollar corporation that had a promotional image leaked online? It won’t have any measurable impact on their bottom line.

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Robert Mann

I am talking the push for legal reforms, internet identity and accountability… rather than this one case.

If corporations can spend the money and exert the effort instead of requiring average citizens to do so, then not only will it likely happen far faster, but it means that those citizens have more ability to voice concerns that might actually be listened to. Sadly, that’s a rarity in political endeavors.

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traja

Problem is that it is in Reddits interests to comply with the request. The part of the DMCA in question has to do with the liability of the service provider. Complying with the subpoena is a way for Reddit to ensure that they are not liable as a company.

So the challenge to this then would have to come from the users side. That is certainly possible to do but lawyers are mighty expensive. Hopefully the person was careful and didn’t connect their personal IP to the Reddit account.