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Unity3D Games "Phone Home" With Details Of Your Hardware & Software

By Matt - | Views: 36,064
A tweet sent out by the Unity engine folks earlier about their stats page mentions that all Unity games automatically send your data to them on the first launch. This is interesting and worrying.

It's interesting because we have another avenue of checking up on how Linux is doing, and worrying because they send out software and hardware information without notice (and I never knew this!).

Linux seems to be pretty low overall:
Windows Player: 95.5%
OS X Player: 4.3%
Linux Player: 0.1%
Source

It's interesting as we can see that for Unity based games, Ubuntu and Linux Mint are top of the Linux distribution food chain:
Ubuntu: 61.4%
Mint: 15.0%
unknown: 12.6%
Linux 3.2 (Canaima 3.1): 3.1%
Manjaro: 2.0%
Arch: 2.0%
Elementary: 1.6%
Debian: 1.2%
Suse: 0.8%
Source

Quote taken from their official page:
QuoteWhen installed, a Unity game submits anonymous hardware details. This is done only once, and does not contain any personally identifiable information (see the privacy policy for what exactly gets sent). We compute statistics of this information. This can be incredibly helpful for Unity game developers in helping them to make good content decisions and optimize performance of their games.

I don't want to worry anyone here, but it's important that people know this is happening. Any bugs in this could easily send over private data by accident. Worse things have happened, so should this really be something that goes on silently?

There is no opt-out of this data collection either which is also a bit worrying as, again, it's all done behind the scenes.

How many of you knew Unity games did this? What do you think about it? I would be interested to see if people are as worried as me, or if they feel Unity should be trusted with our silently collected data? Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Unity
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38 comments
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aL Oct 13, 2014
How does the game know it has already called home? a token received from them?
DrMcCoy Oct 13, 2014
Yeah, I always suspected that most games do this. Had even thought about checking with Wireshark and adding rules for PeerGuardian a few times, but was always too lazy.
Shmerl Oct 13, 2014
Such stats should be authorized by the user. Sending them without consent is pretty bad.
EKRboi Oct 13, 2014
Quoting: Skullyoff topic but gpu Physx is now available for linux
http://physxinfo.com/news/12421/physx-sdk-3-3-2-arrives-adds-gpu-acceleration-support-on-linux/

OH HELLS YES! Hopefully it gets enabled in Borderlands 2 and TPS soon!

as for unity, it's sad to hear that these stats are being sent without more openly asking/telling us what is going on. I assume a statement will be made by them shortly pertaining to this. In the mean time, has anyone wiresharked a unity game yet to see what IP(s) it is sending to and possibly what is being sent? I would hope it's encrypted, but who knows. If nobody has by the time I get home for work ill look into myself.

I also find the linux .1% odd seeing how many of out available games are unity engine games.
EKRboi Oct 13, 2014
Quoting: GuestI think people who care about this should have a firewall that prevents all games from connecting to the net

Is there even an application based firewall for linux that work the way most windows firewalls work? Obviously you can block things via hosts or ip tables, but I am not aware of an app based firewall for linux.
Xpander Oct 13, 2014
i dont really care about this...

also the linux usage is probably small because all pre unity4 engine games are listed as well?
berarma Oct 13, 2014
Since most apps in smartphones already do this it seems more and more developers think it's ok doing it in the computer too. But phone apps ask for permissions when installing.

Numbers are low because there's a lot less games available for GNU/Linux, and just a few successful games not available on our system can skew the numbers too. I'd like to know if Windows users reinstalling their OS and the game count multiple times, that's a frequent case in Windows, not in GNU/Linux.
Beamboom Oct 13, 2014
Quoting: EKRboiIs there even an application based firewall for linux that work the way most windows firewalls work? Obviously you can block things via hosts or ip tables, but I am not aware of an app based firewall for linux.

Can't you just do it on the router?
berarma Oct 13, 2014
Quoting: EKRboi
Quoting: GuestI think people who care about this should have a firewall that prevents all games from connecting to the net
Is there even an application based firewall for linux that work the way most windows firewalls work? Obviously you can block things via hosts or ip tables, but I am not aware of an app based firewall for linux.

I recommend Shorewall. It lacks a gui but the configuration thru text files is very easy and well documented. I have used it for years and works very well. I'm not using it now since I don't need it but it would be my first choice.
EKRboi Oct 13, 2014
Quoting: BeamboomCan't you just do it on the router?

Sure, "I" can do it a multitude of ways. Still requires me to manually figure out what IP/hostname that specific game/application is sending data to though.

I was just curious if there was an easy type solution for the less initiated, or even for myself if I wanted to be lazy ;) For instance I've used ESET in windows for a long time. It's easy just to block access by application either in/out or both. I was just unaware of a solution for linux that worked anywhere near that way. Not everyone who may want to get into gaming on linux will be as willing/able to get their hands dirty like myself or many of the people here.

Quoting: berarmaI recommend Shorewall.

going to look at it for giggles but lacking a gui sort of defeats what I was looking for. I would rather block things at the hosts or even ip tables on my router or locally if I'm going to do manual "leg work" anyways.

In the end I am honestly not worried about stats getting sent to Unity really. Would just like a bit of clarification on WHAT is being sent is all. Is it just basic hardware/distro info like the steams help -> system information? that I am completely A-OK with. What I wouldn't be ok with is info about other machines connected to my network or a list of my NFS connected storage, file lists NOT pertaining EXACTLY to the game in question.. that sort of thing I would consider intrusive and NOT be OK with.
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