INTERNATIONAL GAMING EXPO E3 has slipped up pretty badly. A list of over 2,000 journalists, YouTubers, analysts and other media types have had their private information published on the website for general consumption.
The fact that this list existed in the first place isn't a surprise - it's a handy contact sheet for gaming companies to find out who's in attendance and arrange meetings, demos and so on. But it certainly shouldn't have been publicly available, especially given the harassment some people in the games industry have had to put up with in the last few years.
While many people on the list sensibly only included work email addresses and phone numbers, others - especially freelancers without the luxury of an office - put their home address and personal phone numbers. Kotaku reports that have least two people on the document have had crank phone calls since the list was published.
"ESA was made aware of a website vulnerability that led to the contact list of registered journalists attending E3 being made public," a statement from the Entertainment Software Association reads. "Once notified, we immediately took steps to protect that data and shut down the site, which is no longer available. We regret this occurrence and have put measures in place to ensure it will not occur again."
The problem, of course, is that "no longer available" should come with a big, chunky asterisk that reads "on our website." Thanks to various internet caches, and people having already downloaded the spreadsheet, this is very much locking the stable door after the horse has bolted. Not just bolted, in fact: bolted, met a nice lady horse, and sired several generations of foals.
And deleting the spreadsheet might not end the problem neatly for the ESA, either. Because the site is accessible in Europe, this could well turn into a GDPR nightmare for the company. With a maximum GDPR fine of 20 million Euros, this could turn into one expensive spreadsheet. µ
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