The Epic Games Launcher is seemingly collecting Steam user data without consent

The Epic Games Launcher is seemingly collecting Steam user data without consent

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The Epic Games Launcher is surreptitiously harvesting data from Steam users, according to a recent post on gaming forum ResetEra.

This data includes friend lists, game saves, games played and their play time.  It’s reported that the program does this by preemptively searching for an installation of Steam upon startup.  Once it has been determined that a user has Steam installed on their system, it begins to lift and sync data from the Steam Cloud before encrypting and saving that data in a separate location in the Epic installation directory.  

ResetEra user Madjoki demonstrates how easy it is for others to replicate these findings through the use of Microsoft’s Process Monitor tool.  Upon examination of individual processes, it does appear that Epic is collecting an alarming amount of data from its customers without their knowledge.  

Soon after the post was published, Epic Games’ VP of Engineering, Daniel Vogel, submitted a response, emphasising that any data collected is done so with user permission and in a way that is completely innocuous.

This is not the only controversy to hit the Epic Games Launcher.  Over the past 12 months, Epic have been sailing close to the wind in regards to their privacy policy, which many believe is in direct violation of GDPR laws set out by the EU.  There are even concerns that data held by Epic is accessible by the Chinese government, as investment holding conglomerate Tencent — themselves suspected of various privacy breaches — absorbed 40% of the company back in 2012.

However, these concerns are so far unsubstantiated, and Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney has always staunchly defended against allegations that the Games Launcher is spying on its users.  In a Reddit post earlier this year, he commented, “Epic does not share user data with Tencent or any other company. We don’t share it, sell it, or broker access to it for advertising like so many other companies do.  I’m the founder and controlling shareholder of Epic and would never allow this to happen”.

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dalerothera

Dale Rothera

A gamer since I could hold a controller. You can often find me reminiscing about the days of split-screen multiplayer, blubbing in despair at the size of my Steam backlog or reinstalling Skyrim for the fourteenth time.

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