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Kickstarter Leaves Project Ideas Exposed 56

netbuzz writes "Crowd-funding startup Kickstarter is taking a public-relations hit today after it was reported that some 70,000 not-yet-public project ideas were left exposed on the company's Web site for more than two weeks. Kickstarter insists that no financial information was compromised and that only a few dozen of the projects were actually accessed. 'Obviously our users' data is incredibly important to us, the company said in a blog post. 'Even though limited information was made accessible through this bug, it is completely unacceptable.'"
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Kickstarter Leaves Project Ideas Exposed

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  • "Exposed" defined: (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bananatree3 ( 872975 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @02:03PM (#39997189)
    TFA reads:

    This bug allowed some data from unlaunched projects to be made accessible via the API. It was immediately fixed upon discovering the error. No account or financial data of any kind was made accessible. The bug was introduced when we launched the API in conjunction with our new homepage on April 24, and was live until it was discovered and fixed on Friday, May 11, at 1:42pm. The bug made accessible the project description, goal, duration, rewards, video, image, location, category, and user name for unlaunched projects.

  • by x1r8a3k ( 1170111 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @02:03PM (#39997203)
    Maybe they can setup a kickstarter to fund the software improvements.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2012 @02:05PM (#39997223)

    Wow, that's like... $7 worth of ideas!

    • Wow, that's like... $7 worth of ideas!

      At the standard rate of dime/dozen, that's $583.33. But since "only a few dozen were accessed," that's less than a dollar. If the Kickstarter people come to my office, I will reimburse them with a $1.

  • and i just got some free ideas for some cool things to do

  • Revelation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MetalliQaZ ( 539913 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @02:07PM (#39997253)

    As I read this I tried to analyze my feelings about this news. I have found that I am completely indifferent. Did someone get to take a look at unpublished, in-progress kickstarter ideas? May be. Does it matter? Not really.

    I suppose that means I should expect the buzz around kickstarter to fade away until it settles into its niche. Sorta like eBay.

    I'm sure one of those 7000 will flip out and try to sue somebody, but it would be meaningless.

    • Re:Revelation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @02:37PM (#39997579) Homepage Journal

      As I read this I tried to analyze my feelings about this news. I have found that I am completely indifferent. Did someone get to take a look at unpublished, in-progress kickstarter ideas? May be. Does it matter? Not really.

      Bear in mind that the US just switched to a "first to file" patent system, and since these projects hadn't hit the open stage yet, they were unpublished and thus not "prior art" unless published elsewhere.

      "Only" dozens were accessed...

      • Re:Revelation (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MetalliQaZ ( 539913 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @03:08PM (#39997981)

        This is kickstarter. It is meant for projects, not patents. If they were planning patenting something, they shouldn't have been pumping the details into website that is essentially public. Also, lets face it. If the innovations were so good, they could get funding through traditional channels. (saving up, selling car, mortgaging home, begging friends and family, venture capital firms, private venture capital investments. In that order.)


        • It is sometimes used by people with patents to raise money. ( Its too bad this project didn't meet its goal.
          • In those cases, the patent system is all the intellectual property protection they need. If somebody sees their Kickstarter campaign early, they're free to contact them to license the patent.

            Most Kickstarter projects I've seen have been "I've done some cool art/music/OpenHardwareDesign, and I want to raise funds to print the book/CD/CircuitBoards", and those aren't really at risk if they're seen early either.

        • by arth1 ( 260657 )

          This is kickstarter. It is meant for projects, not patents. If they were planning patenting something, they shouldn't have been pumping the details into website that is essentially public.

          Well, duh - the kickstarters are unlikely to plan patenting something, that's fairly obvious.

          But the people who scan through kickstarter projects before the projects go public may very well be, in the good old spirit of Edison.
          And when the projects haven't been made public yet, they may very well be patentable by others under the new first-to-file principle.

      • by Sabriel ( 134364 )

        Hmm. What defines "unpublished"? If Kickstarter was a dead-tree book company and their print-on-demand API had a bug that allowed stores to order copies of books the authors weren't planning to release until next year, would those books still be considered "unpublished" (as far as ideas went, since the topic is patents) despite the fact that several dozen copies were now sitting in the "new release" section of my local bookstore?

      • Have you ever looked at kickstarter? Find me one project that has enough technical information on its project page to even think about qualifying for a patent.

  • by Anonymous Coward
  • So, they got a Nigerian kick instead of the spam. Same idea, just a new path and new people.


    Yes, I am and very sceptical to new ideas until proven, by others...

  • by dryriver ( 1010635 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @02:10PM (#39997299)
    When Facebook exposes the private data of tens of millions of its users to the Internet, nothing happens. Nothing gets investigated. Nobody is held responsible. Nobody goes to jail, or somesuch. In fact, the market value of Facebook only goes up as a result of it exposing more and more data to its commercial partners and the internet at large. ----- Kickstarter accidentally leave a few WIP funding projects exposed to API users? Ooooh, that's so terrible! Ooooh, that's so wrong! ------- In the age of Facebook, which Julian Assange quite accurately called "the most abominable spying machine created in human history", a little slip-up like this shouldn't even make the news. -------- Kickstarter is a genuinely useful website. I hope it stays that way.
    • > Kickstarter is a genuinely useful website.

      Until someone pulls off the imminent millionaire scam and flees to Aruba, beyond the reach of any legal system.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Isn't that the same risk one would take with any financial commitment to a speculative endeavour?
        The great thing about kickstarter, is that would-be world-changers don't have to jump through the firey hoops & controls that one or two venture capital suppliers would leverage over them. I really see kickstarter as the impetus to a competition-based market, in a market bent on quashing competitive practices; the little guy can step up with out Big Money's restrictions. Unfortunately, there is not yet any e

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2012 @02:57PM (#39997849)

        Until someone pulls off the imminent millionaire scam and flees to Aruba, beyond the reach of any legal system.

        But then we start a Kickstarter project to fund a trip to go after them.

    • by makomk ( 752139 )

      They don't need to. Kickstarter takes an entirely risk-free 5% cut of the proceeds of any successful funding campaign, and it's not like they have to pay credit card fees and chargeback fees out of that - those are entirely taken out of the project creator's share of the proceeds - nor do they have to worry about liability for the inevitable Kickstarter-based scams and failures to deliver thanks to some careful disclaimers in their TOS. If you take a look at the amount of money some projects have raised thr

    • That's because Facebook's T&Cs explicitly say that they are going to take anything you upload and sell it to anyone who wants to buy it. Every single Facebook user has clicked on something saying that they have read and agree to these terms. If they didn't actually read it before agreeing, that's not Facebook's problem.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Discovered and fixed on Friday, publicly disclosed on their blog on Monday. While it's not good that they had this bug in the first place, it's refreshing to see them take responsibility for it and explain it publicly and promptly.

    • by Dan667 ( 564390 )
      contrast that with the sony security breach. This speaks volumes to me who I would rather spend my money with.
  • They would have been made public eventually anyway.

  • The real story is... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Based on our research, the overwhelming majority of the private API access was by a computer programmer/Wall Street Journal reporter who contacted us.

    "Computer programmer/Wall Street Journal reporter"? Who knew that such a beast existed?

  • by longacre ( 1090157 ) * on Monday May 14, 2012 @02:35PM (#39997563) Homepage
    This is obviously a bug, but if anyone is actually hurt by this, they shouldn't have been posting their idea to Kickstarter in the first place. Markets will not be affected by a pre-production, pre-funding idea becoming public knowledge earlier than it should have: Anyone who could act on such info would have done so when it became live, anyway.
  • Does this even matter that much? Ideas are nearly worthless until they are actually practiced/produced. An idea for an amazing new device does not put one in anyone's hand. It is a starting point and goal. Besides, all of the ideas that are public on Kickstarter are there because they have yet to be implemented. They are there because ideas are cheap but their realization is not.
    • Some of them are practically ready to ship, but now that Kickstarter is huge they use it for marketing and getting a cash injection from pre-orders.

  • I love KickStarter and am a backer of various projects there. Also at IndieGoGo and RocketHub. Suffice to say, I love the concept.

    That said... they're getting a PR hit over this? Give me a break. As it is, perhaps it'd be a good thing so that the public can vet projects before they actually go live for funding. That way KickStarter could avoid some things that they really should have gotten PR hits over.

    Like scam projects. They got very limited exposure for that recently with the Mythic project, but a

  • by pubwvj ( 1045960 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @03:38PM (#39998269)

    1. Kickstarter fixed it. Good for them.

    2. Nobody was harmed in the making of this joke.

    3. Ideas are freely available on Kickstarter. They do make that point. If you can't stand your ideas being known don't Kickstart them.

    We are building a nano-scale on-farm USDA meat processing facility for our farm. We're using Kickstarter to fund it in part (see [] for details - tomorrows the last day May 15th). I'm open sourcing it. Go see my blog and see the floor plan, read about all the neat things we've developed to make it more energy efficient, smaller, lower cost and useful. If you want to do the same thing then more power to you. Share ideas.

    -Walter Jeffries
    Sugar Mountain Farm []

    • by Jeng ( 926980 )

      We are building a nano-scale on-farm USDA meat processing facility for our farm.

      I read your kickstarter page and think it's a great idea, but I take it when you use the term nano-scale you aren't actually talking about nano-tech. Buzzwords make me nervous, buzzwords used wrong make me even more nervous.

      Why not just use the word "small"? It's not like you are doing molecular level butchering.

      • by pubwvj ( 1045960 )

        Because the USDA already uses the terms:
        Meat Processing Facility
        Small Scale Meat Processing Facility
        Very Small Scale Meat Processing Facility

        and ours is another step smaller by a large amount thus I use the term:

        Nano-scale Meat Processing Facility

        I thought about using milli-scale but while it would be a more appropriate term people, other than geeks like you and I, aren't familiar with the term milli despite the existence of millimeters. So nano it is. Eat small. :)

  • Artists & coders: Meh, I still on copyright on my work.
    However, the idea men are livid.

  • I am really looking forward to attempting to raise some money, but I'm torn between KickStarter, RocketHub and Indiegogo. Below is a short description of what our project consists of, it crosses genres, fiction and non-fiction, essentially we have two main thrusts to the website and our efforts:

    Non-fiction: Reality, science, medicine, psychology, sexuality, etc. We have artists, doctors, scientists, free-thinkers, etc. We do NOT have religious nuts, crystal druids, etc; we'll discuss anything but we won'

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