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posted by Dopefish on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the move-along-nothing-to-see-here dept.

Lagg writes:

"We're in a climate where it's easy to accuse a company of spying on you by various means with a distinct possibility that you could be right, but sometimes a reality check is needed. A Reddit user recently posted a thread accusing Valve of writing code for VAC that iterates your DNS cache and sends the hashed entries to their server. The proof provided of this was a prettied disassembly (that was not easily reproducible due to how VAC loads symbols) that showed only that VAC was indeed iterating the DNS cache, which any knowledgeable programmer understands is not exactly an uncommon thing to do, as no socket code was to be seen. Today, Gabe Newell responded to these allegations by confirming that no they do not in fact snoop your cache entries.

There are probably a few things to learn from this, including not trusting a screenshot of code that looks complex without actually understanding what it's doing. A lack of any level-headed investigation is a bad idea and it's important to handle these situations before they snowball into a mob (as Redditors are bound to do)."

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  • (Score: 1) by MrGuy on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:25PM

    by MrGuy (1007) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:25PM (#1580)

    I don't love Reddit's sensationalism. I don't love that this story gained more traction than it had proof.

    That said, "Gabe Newell Said It's Not True" is hardly PROOF that the story was untrue. Indeed, he said it (at least partially) IS true - they DO look through your DNS cache and DO have the ability to upload hashed values. They just (he claims) don't do it for ALL the DNS entries.

    Reading the summary, it reads like "Valve denies it!" is by itself definitive proof that a.) the story accusing Valve is untrue, b.) Reddit has terrible editorial standards, and c.) A noble company was clearly slandered here.

    Consider whether any other company in the games industry would have "we said it's not true!" given such deference. What if the story was about EA, and they were the ones claiming "we don't exactly upload your WHOLE DNS cache!" Would the summary read similarly? I somehow doubt it.

    Sure, many people trust Valve more than other game companies. I'm one of them. But for a NEWS site to accept one not-exactly-uniterested party's unverified assertion is fact, to the extent that the "story" is all about how horribly wronged they were, is mistaking your personal belief in Valve's credibility for fact. This is a horribly slanted summary. This ain't news- this is the editor's opinion. And it should at a minimum be marked as such.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mattie_p on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:48PM

    by mattie_p (13) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:48PM (#1597) Journal

    Hey, editor here. Thanks for your feedback on this. I have to admit that 10 days ago I didn't think I'd be here, doing this. Neither did the other editors, but then again, tech writers don't grow on trees. Everything is moving pretty quickly and we're still hashing out some things. Part of that is learning how to be editors. Hopefully we'll get better at this and learn to detect bias or slant in the summary submitted, and either negate it or work around it. Thanks for reading. ~mattie_p

  • (Score: 1) by Dopefish on Wednesday February 19 2014, @07:09AM

    by Dopefish (12) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @07:09AM (#2197)

    I'm with mattie_p on this one, and I was the editor that greenlit this submission. To that end, I will be more cautious going forward with how details are represented in the submissions that go live to ensure accuracy and fairness. Thank you for your feedback MrGuy!