has been hit with a lawsuit over its $6.50 Battle.net Authenticator keychains that it sells online. According to the lawsuit, Blizzard makes millions of dollars by "deceptively and unfairly" charging customers for an after-sale security product, essentially shifting responsibility from the publisher to the consumer to protect their accounts from hackers. Even then, it doesn't always work, the lawsuit claims.
"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 lawsuit states, according to Courthouse News Service
The class action lawsuit was filed by Benjamin Bell and targets Irvine-based Blizzard Entertainment and its corporate parent, Santa Monica-based Activision Blizzard. Bell alleges that the Authenticators have brought in $26 million.
"Defendants negligently, deliberately, and/or recklessly fail to ensure that adequate, reasonable procedures safeguard the private information stored on this website," the 33-page complaint alleges. "As a result of these acts, the private information of plaintiffs and class members has been compromised and/or stolen since at least 2007."
Blizzard is aware of the lawsuit, telling IGN
that it's "without merit and filled with patently false information." According to Blizzard, the Battle.net Authenticator tool is completely optional and designed to offer players further protection "in the event that their login credentials are compromised out of Blizzard's network infrastructure." Furthermore, not only is it available as a physical device, but also as a free app for iOS or Android devices, Blizzard states.
The class action lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages and an injunction against after-sale security products and from requiring customers to sign up for Battle.net accounts.