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Blizzard Facing Lawsuit Over Forceful Authenticator Purchases

Courthouse News reports that Blizzard Entertainment and parent company Acitivsion Blizzard are facing a class action lawsuit that claims the Diablo 3 developer makes millions by "deceptively and unfairly" charging customers for an after-sale security product.

Lead plaintiff Benjamin Bell, one of two listed in the filing, is seeking class damages for consumer fraud, unjust enrichment, negligence, breach of contract and bailment. The class action lawsuit is represented by Hank Bates with Carney Williams Bates Pulliam & Bowman, of Little Rock, Arkansas.

The lawsuit claims that Blizzard has been the subject of repeated security breaches including the Battle.net hack in August and those experienced in May. Instead of securing personal information on its servers, Blizzard is reportedly forcing customers to purchase an authenticator "in order to have even minimal protection for their sensitive personal, private, and financial data."

The lawsuit specifically names the Diablo and StarCraft franchises as two products that are affected by Blizzard's lack of proper security.

"Defendants negligently, deliberately, and/or recklessly fail to ensure that adequate, reasonable procedures safeguard the private information stored on this website. As a result of these acts, the private information of plaintiffs and class members has been compromised and/or stolen since at least 2007," the complaint states.

"Most recently, on or about May 19, 2012, reports proliferated that class members’ Battle.net accounts had suffered a security breach (‘hack’) at the hands of unknown parties (‘hackers’), and on or about August 4, 2012, hackers massively breached Battle.net’s security and acquired the private information of all of defendants’ customers in the United States, as well as the remainder of North America, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia," the complaint adds.

The lawsuit states that Activision Blizzard has earned $26 million USD from selling the $6.40 physical Authenticator product. It also alleges that Blizzard forces users to create an online account, and is leaving it up to those customers to tighten security on their devices rather than tighten security on Blizzard's end. Even more, the suit accuses Blizzard of failing to take the legally required steps to alert customers about the May 19 hacking incident.

Bell is asking the court to not only reward class damages, but seeks an injunction to bar the defendants from adding undisclosed costs after the initial software purchase. Bell is also asking the court to ban the requirement for establishing Battle.net accounts.

Note: Blizzard customers can download a free Authenticator app for Android and iOS devices. The lawsuit is addressing the various physical keychain versions that are available on Blizzard's store here.

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  • crisan_tiberiu
    They could have bundeled the authenticator with the game... not that hard ?!
    Reply
  • ben850
    If you have a smart phone it's free.. this hardly sounds like AV/Blizz is trying to trick anyone.
    Reply
  • bllue
    It truly is pathetic. A customer should not be expected to pay extra to attempt to fix a company's utter FAILURE of safeguarding serious information. Buying or using an authenticator doesn't even protect you from being hacked (as was the case in the early Diablo 3). It is nothing but greed coming from Activi$ionBli$$ard
    Reply
  • therabiddeer
    1) It is free to use if you have a smart phone
    2) Blizzard loses money on each sale because they sell it AT COST and ship for free
    3) Blizzard uses Vasco Digipass units, which at retail cost €12.99 (Blizzard most likely gets a big discount for their bulk purchases)
    http://shop.vasco.com/
    Reply
  • Blizzard doesn't make money selling authenticators your paying the shipping and handling fee, and if your so broke to not be able to get one to up your own security, while your paying 60+ dollars for games on a single account non the less a 15 a month for the game, the decision is yours, they offer other alternatives free of charge, Mobile authentication, and even Dial in authentication that costs you no money at all.
    So bllue think before you accuse blindly.
    Reply
  • therabiddeer
    Oh good, the anti-blizzard train has already rolled out to downvote people.
    Reply
  • Christopher1
    bllueIt truly is pathetic. A customer should not be expected to pay extra to attempt to fix a company's utter FAILURE of safeguarding serious information. Buying or using an authenticator doesn't even protect you from being hacked (as was the case in the early Diablo 3). It is nothing but greed coming from Activi$ionBli$$ard
    Right in one. A customer should NOT be required to spend more money to beef up security that should have already been there in the damned first place.
    I foresee Blizzard settling this case REAL quickly.
    Reply
  • boyabunda
    therabiddeer1) It is free to use if you have a smart phone2) Blizzard loses money on each sale because they sell it AT COST and ship for free3) Blizzard uses Vasco Digipass units, which at retail cost €12.99 (Blizzard most likely gets a big discount for their bulk purchases)http://shop.vasco.com/
    You really believe Activision Blizzard loses money on each sale of authenticators? LOL
    Reply
  • In actuality it does indeed protect you from nearly any possible outside attempt to log in to your account. they have to actually guess the number right within a small number of tries before the account needs to then be unlocked by customer service. the chance of guessing correctly before the account is locked is so small that they waste more money on the power required to run the computer than they could ever hope to gain by breaching an account eventually.

    And secondly... if they bundled them with the game... then everyone is paying for them... even people that don't need them. Since they can get a free one on any device they might have that supports it... so why pay for one you won't use.
    Reply
  • casualcolors
    I was wondering how long it would take for this practice to be examined.
    Reply