The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) inadvertently exposed hundreds of e-mail addresses while responding to complaints over Blizzard’s plans to end its policy of forum anonymity.
The rather embarrassing slipup reportedly occurred when an ESRB employee hit “Reply All” to everyone who had contacted them over the controversial issue, thereby displaying approximately 1,000 e-mail addresses to other recipients.
Ironically, the ESRB is well known for touting Internet privacy issues, and even runs a Privacy Online program to assist companies in complying with privacy laws like the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
However, as Adam Ma of GamingUnion notes, the unfortunate mistake is likely to be more embarrassing than harmful.
“On a lighter note, if I had been one of the people who’s e-mail has been exposed I would at least be grateful that my information was exposed to like-minded individuals,” opined Ma.
“It’s not as if the ESRB tossed those e-mails into an open forum, so while the mistake is extremely embarrassing it at least shouldn’t be too harmful. Still funny though.”
Luke Plunkett of Kotaku concurred.
“[No], it’s not a dangerous mistake – it’s not like these were home addresses or social security numbers being handed out – but a lot of people use their real names in email addresses.
“And if they’re concerned enough about online privacy to write to the ESRB, they’ll be concerned enough that their email addresses were handed out to around 1000 random strangers.”