World Of Warcraft Screenshots Contain Your User ID In A Secret Watermark

How would you feel if a game’s screenshot function secretly added personal data into the outputted screens without your knowledge? That’s apparently what Blizzard are doing with World Of Warcraft, according to a report this evening over on SlashDot.

“A few days ago I noticed some weird artifacts covering the screenshots I captured using the WoW game client application,” says one user. “I sharpened the images and found a repeating pattern secretly embedded inside.”


“I posted this information on the OwnedCore forum and after an amazing three-day cooperation marathon, we managed to prove that all our WoW screenshots, since at least 2008, contain a custom watermark,” he continued.

“This watermark includes our user IDs, the time the screenshot was captured and the IP address of the server we were on at the time.”

It’s likely Blizzard, now owned by Activision, do this to try to prevent abuse, but it’s somewhat sneaky. User “kgkoutzis” notes that the Terms Of Service make no mention of this, although it’s likely to be in there somewhere in legalese.

It’s also worth noting that this isn’t your log in name, merely a user ID, but the privacy issue still remains and whilst a statement from the publisher is expected, this is why a simple Print Screen is normally preferred.

Source: Slashdot



  1. Ah, steganography in digital watermarks. Meh. Had to play around with these for a client once. Assuming it can’t be broken (read: has security like HTTPS) then I’d like to think it’s still genuinely safe to use.

    However, interesting that they’re using them and doubly interested to see what Blizzard say.

  2. Wow.

  3. That’s fiendishly clever. I can see the motive behind putting these in. However I could see why some people would be upset. However I don’t see that this collecting or showing any more information than say Google analytics.

    • i don’t think what was recorded was the main problem, more that they never told anybody that it was.

      after this, you have to wonder, what other information is being stored in places and ways they’re not telling us about?

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