Riot Games updated the privacy notice and terms of service on April 30th. Starting with the title Valorant, these tweaks will roll out to other games eventually. The changes laid out came down to the following:
- We’re updating our Privacy Notice to allow us to record and evaluate voice comms when a report for disruptive behavior is submitted, starting with VALORANT. If a violation is detected, we’ll take action and remove the data when it is no longer needed for reviews.
- We’re implementing a new Terms of Service update with an updated global refund policy and adding language around our anti-cheat software for current and future Riot titles.
- Please keep reading to get the full details on why we’re doing this, what’ll happen to your data (and how we’re keeping it safe), and how this will impact you.
The refund policy change is fair enough. Recording someone’s voice, though, is where things get slippery.
There’s doesn’t appear to be a way around the in-game voice communication monitoring. Even those who live in states that require two-party consent for recording sign away said consent with the TOS now. You can either use it or not. There are plenty of other ways to voice chat with your fellow players, either through Discord or another program.
What worries me is the phrasing regarding what will happen with the recordings. Riot Games states, “We’ll take action and remove the data when it is no longer needed for reviews.” What is keeping a Riot Games employee from making these recordings public?
In regards to privacy concerns, Riot games said the following:
“We believe we should collect the absolute minimum data to effectively run our games and continuously improve your experience. When we collect data, we’ll be transparent, we’ll keep it for only as long as is necessary, and we’ll protect it as if it were our own.
We know collecting voice data is a concern for many of you, but be assured that we would never ship anything if we weren’t comfortable having our own data treated the same way. And if you prefer to not have your voice chat captured, you may turn off voice chat.”
As much as I’d like to believe that, I don’t. It was only a few years ago when claims surfaced about Riot Games helping China monitor players. This comes from someone who has worked in tightly monitored security spaces for large companies. It only takes one jerk with access to create giant problems. One thumb drive and a couple of clicks can easily make that data public.
When will Riot Games show us this transparency? Given we live in an age where people are obsessed with outing others for wrong think or inconsequential stupidity, this sounds like a PR nightmare waiting to happen.
Right now, the statement says they’ll be “as transparent as possible.” That doesn’t tell us a whole lot. What’s the bare minimum of transparency at Riot Games?
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