Valve Breaks 'Steam Spy' With New Privacy Settings

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Mar 5, 2015
I think Valve is doing the right thing, sharing of data should always be opt-in not opt-out (yes Facebook, I'm looking at you).

Without knowing exactly if it could be done, Steamspy could ask users to enable public sharing (and perhaps changing the settings for them if possible), thereby Steamspy would be able to report on all users with Steamspy, and ofcourse other users who have chosen to go public with their library.


Dec 27, 2005
Well I personally don't care either however as a general rule any information about me should only be avail to the public if I personal deem it ok. There is nothing stopping people from changing there profile back to public.


Jan 22, 2015
If people are profiting off of data about me, then I should be entitled to be paid royalties. We should be allowed to copyright our "life stories" (as told through data) in the same way that an author can claim copyright on a published autobiography.
In cases where one consents to freely give their information to a single service AND understands that that information will be sold to a third party, that third party should not be allowed to infinitely copy and sell that information to whoever they feel like. It's like... piracy.
If you buy a CD, movie, or a game, you aren't buying actual ownership or rights to copy and sell that data, just a "license" for use. Personal data (or facebook pictures, videos etc.) should all work the same way - citizens can license it out or give away individual copies freely if they want, but we should still retain primary ownership of it.

As for Valve making more of their data private, I think its a good thing. I think most people don't even realize Steam has privacy settings.


Valve already provides the information on their site, anyway -- maybe with a focus on the top games, perhaps, vs. "every" game on Steam, but it's still there: average users per day, tech support calls & refunds per day (& by hour), their hardware survey, etc. And I would imagine that developers with games on Steam already have access to the stats for their particular games (including daily usage & purchase totals). So, aside from a "lookee here!" to the general public, I really don't see how this website was of any help to developers (3rd-party or otherwise).

Not to mention my question: the API that he used to access the Steam software distribution service, a) was this an API he (or someone he paid) developed or something that Valve developed in-house for developers to use, & b) did he have permission from Valve to use it for this purpose? I could see, for example, Rockstar Games using the API to access Steam for information on Rockstar's own games...but I would imagine that Valve would have frowned a bit on Rockstar having access, say, to the data on Firaxis's or EA's games (& vice versa), as that smacks of giving them "insider information". If they were to frown on that, I can imagine they wouldn't be too happy about some 3rd-party spectator getting that kind of access.
It starts with games, then hardware, then txt files then someone hacks the system, does a mistake and steal sensible information. Then the info is sold online without you knowing. After all that no one is responsible for the leak. They should really offer a permanent opt out option!


May 20, 2004

What you said is a variant of the "I've got nothing to hide" argument. There are no consequences that you can see, therefor no one should care if their games list is made public. "Nothing to hide" is a fallacy that assumes the only reason for privacy is to hide something that is wrong.
It would be very difficult to calculate what your info is worth but it would be very small.

You actually already do "profit" though when you benefit from the aggregate data being used to make Steam suggestions, or other data and applications like Netflix that see what people are watching or how they use products so that they may improve things.

We'll have some knee-jerk to the Russian attacks and it may go too far in some cases, but better to be overly protective than not enough (especially when companies find ways to violate the protection rules anyway).

We do need to focus on what's most important to protect though such as our family data (and use common sense to not post "here's my cute daughter... here's our address...)

Post your Steam profile here, and I'm sure we can find something. : 3

I've always wanted to see more detailed privacy controls on Steam. Having only the options for your entire profile to be either public, private or friends-only really limits your options. Maybe you want your achievements to be public, for example, but don't necessarily want random Internet bots and others cataloging how many hours you've played of a particular game, or how much gaming you've done on the service in the last two weeks, or whether you're in a game at any given time, which with repeated look-ups could be combined with other data to build information about a person's daily schedule.

This addition is a good start to making more detailed controls available, though I'd like to see that added for all parts of the profile. Badges, recent activity, friends list, and so on. All should have the option to be individually marked private, public or friends-only. I also wouldn't mind seeing at least two layers of friends. Many Steam users have a mixture of people they actually know in person, online friends that they've known for a while, and then just random people that they may have had a good multiplayer match with. Being able to keep those separate from one another, and having the option to control what profile data is available to each would be nice.
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