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Report: Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) Scans Your DNS History 373

dotarray writes "If a recent report is to be believed, Valve is looking at your browsing history. Reportedly, the company's Valve Anti Cheat system (VAC) looks at all the domains you have visited, and if it finds that you've frequented hack sites, you'll be banned. 'The new functionality has been slammed by gamers, who claim it is "more like spyware than anti-cheat". Valve has not responded to the allegations, but all Steam users have agreed to abide by specific online conduct and not to use cheats. The company's privacy policy also explains that Valve may collect "personally identifiable information", but promises not to share it with other parties.'"
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Report: Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) Scans Your DNS History

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  • Re:So (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @10:48AM (#46266479)

    How many Linux users do you think have the idea of sandboxing Valve applications, just in case they might be peeking inside other applications' user data?

    There's no "Linux obviously" about it. It's a matter of trust, and Linux or not, users are far too trusting of the applications they install.

  • Re:So (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @10:53AM (#46266533) Homepage

    Create a separate virtual machine where you do all your clandestine browsing from.

    If the steam engine is able to access the VM and the disks there then they really are insisting on digging through your computer, but I doubt that they will be able to go far with it.

  • Re:So (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @11:07AM (#46266681)

    Still pretty fucking invasive if true. I'm going to have to watch this and, if true, protest. Not quite sure how yet, I'd hate to lose my game library but this sort of invasive behavior can't go unanswered. The "repeatedly redownload your gaming library" idea has some merit if done en-masse along with vocal enough complaints. Perhaps we can dig up the phone number and address of the company executives so we can send our complaints directly to the parties responsible for allowing such a thing .

  • Re:So (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BlueMonk ( 101716 ) <> on Monday February 17, 2014 @12:21PM (#46267441) Homepage
    The reason I *started* using Steam was because I bought a game in a store only to find when I got it home that it was pretty much a dummy disk that just made me install Steam and download the game in order to play it. The game was Civilization V. I don't get outraged by much, but come to think of it, that kind of is an outrage, but one just borderline enough that I was willing to accept it rather than not play the game. I don't/didn't know what else to do.
  • Re:So (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @01:26PM (#46268159)

    *) Possibility to cancel your business relationship with Valve and keep playing the games you paid for.

    That same complaint applies just as well to physical copies of games as it does virtual ones, and is really a complaint about the licensing model used in the software industry, rather than being a complaint about DRM.

    When you purchase a game disc at your local retailer, you're merely purchasing a license to play the game. That's the nature of your business relationship with Ubisoft, EA, or whoever. As such, canceling your business relationship with them would mean rescinding your licenses. For a physical game, the way you'd do that would be by snapping the game discs in half, deleting any copies of the games that you had made, and refusing to make use of their services.

    But no one does that, not even you, since you'd still like to play those games, as you said.

    Instead, if you never want to deal with Ubisoft or EA again, what you'd actually do is refuse to buy anything more from them. You don't cancel your business relationship, since that would mean being unable to play your games. You'd simply refuse to expand your relationship with them further. So why would you apply a different standard to Steam?

    If you never want to interact with Steam again, you wouldn't cancel your business relationship with them, since that would mean terminating the licenses you had to play their games (i.e. the digital equivalent of snapping the game discs in half). Rather, you'd simply enable offline mode and be done with them. You can continue to play the game for as long as you like, can make backup copies of the game, and can continue enjoying it hassle free.

    As such, I really don't see what your complaint about DRM is here, since your complaint is really just aimed at the licensing model used by the software industry as a whole. The only way that DRM is involved is inasmuch as it's used to enforce the license, but, as I just pointed out, Steam itself is exceedingly permissive (some games have their own DRM, but that's a separate issue from Steam). It does have limits not imposed by physical media (just as physical media has limits not imposed in the digital world), but the limit you cited is not one of them.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers