In an interesting announcement made earlier today, Canada’s Federal Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart issued new privacy guidance for videogames. In making the announcement, the Privacy Commmissioner said:
“Today, while they may be playing in the basement, they’re very likely doing so with others, whether they’re friends from around the block or virtual ones around the world. ‘As gaming consoles are now onramps to the Internet, we need to recognize that, like anything else that brings together personal information and connectivity, there are privacy issues at play … Interactive gaming accounts are increasingly becoming linked to social networks while videogames today are also avenues for advertisers to youth.’”
The Federal Privacy Commissioner’s new videogame play guidance includes information on the collection of personal information from gamers, providing credit card information, privacy controls, linked profiles over online networks and protecting personal information and profiles online. The Privacy Commissioner also provides the following guidelines for online videogame play:
- Given that personal information is part of many gaming profiles, it is best to use strong passwords (e.g., capital and small letters, numbers and symbols);
- As most user accounts require credit card information, players should check their statements regularly and contact the gaming company or console service immediately for transaction issues;
- When consoles or individual games offer detailed privacy controls, users should examine them closely and choose wisely (e.g., users may opt to restrict profile visibility only to players who they actually know in real life);
- While many gaming networks now enable gamers to tie their gaming accounts to social networking sites, players should read the associated privacy policies and user agreements to find out what will be shared and with whom; and
- As many multiplayer games allow text and voice chatting between players, users should adjust their privacy settings to block other gamers who might be abusive while taking advantage of systems that invite players to report incidents directly to gaming networks in order to help curb online harassment.
For copies of the news release and related guidelines see: Privacy Commissioner’s new videogame guidance calls on players and parents to think privacy prior to play.
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