ESRB Blind to BCC Email Option (Update)

Upset with Blizzard’s temporary implementation of a Real ID system on its official forums, which meant users would have to utilize their real names in order to post, around one thousand users complained to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB).

The ESRB promptly responded to those who complained via an email, but, according to, sent an electronic communication with all the complainer’s email addresses fully visible in the “to” section of the message, neglecting to use the BCC or blind email option.

The email to those who complained thanked them for contacting the ESRB, noted that Blizzard had reversed the policy and offered:

ESRB, through its Privacy Online program, helps companies develop practices to safeguard users’ personal information online while still providing a safe and enjoyable video game experience for all. We appreciate your taking the time to contact us with your concerns, and please feel free to direct any future inquiries you may have regarding online privacy to our attention.

Update: In response to an inquiry, an ESRB spokesperson told GP that the flub was the result of an "an unfortunate error” by an employee. The spokesperson added:

In our effort to respond quickly to the thousands of gamers who wrote to the ESRB, we inadvertently revealed a limited number of recipients’ e-mail addresses in our reply. This was both unfortunate and regrettable, and for that we sincerely apologize to all those who were affected.  They deserve to trust that their information will be handled with the same confidentiality, care and respect that we require of companies that display our Privacy Online seal.


We take this issue seriously and are doing everything we can to ensure it does not happen again in the future.

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  1. 0
    GoodRobotUs says:

    ‘…please feel free to direct any future inquiries you may have regarding online privacy to our attention.’

    Intentional or not, that’s just hilarious…

  2. 0
    questionmark1987 says:

    Any serious issue I’ve had with a blizzard product was handled by email or phone. Trying to get tech support through a forum is like walking into a crowded room and asking for game reviews, all you get is a bunch of unintelligible noise.

  3. 0
    Michael Chandra says:

    Only as long as you can contact Blizzard in other ways for Tech Support, of course. Otherwise it’s not an option. And for a commercial product that would be a severe act.

  4. 0
    Thad says:

    The issue is that Blizzard’s forums have ESRB’s privacy certification.  The people complaining to the ESRB felt that the Real ID terms were a violation of that certification and the ESRB should revoke it.

    Per Ars: the ESRB responded that privacy and anonymity aren’t the same thing, and that Real ID passed their standards for the exact reasons that you say: the terms were spelled out clearly and were opt-in.

    Giving up a bunch of people’s E-Mail addresses without warning them, on the other hand, is not; ESRB screwed up on this one.

  5. 0
    Longjocks says:

    Oh, for FFS, it’s their website, they can do what they want. Except for the fact that I believe in anonymity on the Internet for the sake of protecting free speech, I say it’s just a forum and you have the option of not posting. Sure, tell Blizzard what you think, protest, whatever, but taking it to a third party like the ESRB? Ridiculous.

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