The Haus

Tuesday, September 2, 2003

PunkBuster: Read the EULA

There is a thread on the America's Army for Linux mailing list about the EULA for PunkBuster, the anti-cheating technology included with that game and several others. I didn't read it before, but now I wish I had. There are several sections of it that I simply cannot agree with. Here's a snip from the version of the EULA that came with the most recent Quake III Arena patch:

Licensee further acknowledges and accepts that PunkBuster software may be considered invasive. Licensee understands that PunkBuster software inspects and reports information about the computer on which it is installed to other connected computers and Licensee agrees to allow PunkBuster software to inspect and report such information about the computer on which Licensee installs PunkBuster software. Licensee understands and agrees that the information that may be inspected and reported by PunkBuster software includes, but is not limited to, devices and any files residing on the hard-drive and in the memory of the computer on which PunkBuster software is installed. Further, Licensee consents to allow PunkBuster software to transfer actual screenshots taken of Licensee's computer during the operation of PunkBuster software for possible publication. Licensee understands that the purpose and goal of PunkBuster is to ensure a cheat-free environment for all participants in online games. Licensee agrees that the invasive nature of PunkBuster software is necessary to meet this purpose and goal. Licensee agrees that any harm or lack of privacy resulting from the installation and use of PunkBuster software is not as valuable to Licensee as the potential ability to play interactive online games with the benefits afforded by using PunkBuster software.

May be considered evasive? You've got to be kidding me. So basically you are authorizing them to look at anything on your computer, send any information to any other computer, and even publish that information without your knowledge or specific consent. Isn't that lovely? I'm going to be going through the PB-equipped games that I have and rip it out.

UPDATE! Nuking the pb directories for all of the affected games (I have Quake III, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and Enemy Territory) seems to do the trick. Remember also to delete the pb directories wherever your personal settings are stored (for example, ~/.q3a for Quake III or ~/.wolf for RtCW). The only drawback is that you obviously won't be able to play on PunkBuster-enabled servers. I've pretty much given up playing online with anyone I don't know personally anyway. That's really the only way to be sure that cheating will not be an issue.

News for 09/02/2003

Recent Headlines

January 5, 2015: It Returns!
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May 20, 2007: PhpBB 3.0 RC 1 Released
February 2, 2007: DOOM3 1.31 Patch

January 27, 2007: Join the World Community Grid
January 17, 2007: Flash Player 9 for Linux
December 30, 2006: Darkness over Daggerford 1.2
December 19, 2006: Pocket Tunes 4.0 Released
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