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Release Notes (Website: User privacy controls) - March 23, 2022


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9 hours ago, IsThisMajorTom said:

Europe imposes strick laws on privacy and GS has no choice but to comply. Its creating havoc even with the likes of google and meta.

 

I'm curious what clause in Europe's laws says a player has to be able to block their list of finds, souvenirs and trackables from appearing in their profile, but it's okay to not allow them to block their hides from being shown there, or their finds, souvenirs and trackables from being shown elsewhere in the site such as on cache pages. Either Europe's laws are very geocaching-specific or someone is cherry-picking.

 

In any case, how can a list of geocache finds be private personal information when there's nothing in the player's public profile that identifies the actual person behind the account?

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The European GDPR and such regulations elsewhere (California has something similar) control what kind of information companies can store about you, and is the reason for those annoying popups whenever you enter a site.

 

This is something different, and frankly I can't understand what all the fuss is about. It is just a way for people that e.g. are victims of stalking to prevent their activity, pictures and other personal data to be accessible from their profile. Yes, profiles are "anonymous", but a stalker very often knows their victim very well, including their geocaching user name. Typically they have been in a relationship. Sure, some people may want to hide their data for other reasons. But why shouldn't we let them? Do we really need to go through their find history or pictures if they don't want that? Very few geocachers will use this new possibility, I think, and the geocache listings will look the same as before. All logs will still be there.

 

What we don't need is a bunch of warnings plastered all over our own public profiles. It is the public profile, for crying out loud, it is expected that the content is public. It would be better with confirmation that the data is now hidden for the few that do that.

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6 minutes ago, ChriBli said:

Sure, some people may want to hide their data for other reasons. But why shouldn't we let them?

 

One reason that immediately comes to mind is integrity in the game. Having your find history visible for all to see is a disincentive to cheating. These changes give the green light to armchair loggers since they can now log away to their heart's content without anyone being able to see what they're up to.

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3 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

One reason that immediately comes to mind is integrity in the game. Having your find history visible for all to see is a disincentive to cheating. These changes give the green light to armchair loggers since they can now log away to their heart's content without anyone being able to see what they're up to.

I think if you feel the need to hide your find history, then your find count should be hidden as well, for your own sake.....

I've heard of some colourful ways people keep 'streaks' going, with the possibility of no scrutiny, imagine the possibilities.....

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2 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

One reason that immediately comes to mind is integrity in the game. Having your find history visible for all to see is a disincentive to cheating. These changes give the green light to armchair loggers since they can now log away to their heart's content without anyone being able to see what they're up to.

The COs of the caches they log from their armchairs will see what they are up to. Those are also the only ones that can do anything about it, by deleting any fake logs. I don't think the problem with deliberate armchair loggers is that great actually, hijacked accounts logging caches at random seems to be more common.

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4 minutes ago, lee737 said:

I think if you feel the need to hide your find history, then your find count should be hidden as well, for your own sake.....

I've heard of some colourful ways people keep 'streaks' going, with the possibility of no scrutiny, imagine the possibilities.....

Of course if you choose to hide your find list you will suffer from reduced credibility if you want to brag about your stats. But for some people it may be worth that.

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28 minutes ago, ChriBli said:

The COs of the caches they log from their armchairs will see what they are up to. Those are also the only ones that can do anything about it, by deleting any fake logs. I don't think the problem with deliberate armchair loggers is that great actually, hijacked accounts logging caches at random seems to be more common.

Yes but now when the CO checks the account of a weird find, they won't know where the person is based, when they last logged in or where they've found caches. I agree armchair logging may not be a big problem, but for the few it has just been given a cloak of secrecy.

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1 hour ago, barefootjeff said:

 

I'm curious what clause in Europe's laws says a player has to be able to block their list of finds, souvenirs and trackables from appearing in their profile, but it's okay to not allow them to block their hides from being shown there, or their finds, souvenirs and trackables from being shown elsewhere in the site such as on cache pages. Either Europe's laws are very geocaching-specific or someone is cherry-picking.

 

In any case, how can a list of geocache finds be private personal information when there's nothing in the player's public profile that identifies the actual person behind the account?

IANAL, but I'm rather sure, that EU law does _not_ make it mandatory that a user can hide the stats of their finds. The point is, that a) you correctly point out that there is no public link between the cacher's nickname and their real life identity, and b) no cacher is forced to log their find online in the first place.

 

GS can of course offer as much "anonymity options" as they like (to prevent stalking or whatever), but saying "We _have_ to, because of GDPR" would probably not be entirely correct.

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42 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

One reason that immediately comes to mind is integrity in the game. Having your find history visible for all to see is a disincentive to cheating. These changes give the green light to armchair loggers since they can now log away to their heart's content without anyone being able to see what they're up to.

OTOH, some of the most blatant armchair loggers happily logged away anyway, and apparently didn't give a hoot about what others think. Therefore I don't think that the new privacy options will change a lot in that respect.

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45 minutes ago, ChriBli said:

The COs of the caches they log from their armchairs will see what they are up to. Those are also the only ones that can do anything about it, by deleting any fake logs. I don't think the problem with deliberate armchair loggers is that great actually, hijacked accounts logging caches at random seems to be more common.

 

All the CO will see is one log on their cache. Yes, maybe they'll check it against the physical logbook, but on those occasions when I've done that it's been nigh on impossible anyway with people signing the logbook with a different name to what they use online, or muddling up the date, or more often the signature in the logbook is just illegible. An armchair logger only really becomes apparent when you look at their history, particularly if they're logging finds all over the country (or world even) on the same day.

 

16 minutes ago, baer2006 said:

OTOH, some of the most blatant armchair loggers happily logged away anyway, and apparently didn't give a hoot about what others think. Therefore I don't think that the new privacy options will change a lot in that respect.

 

I've seen reports in the forums where blatant armchair loggers have had their accounts locked by HQ and there are no doubt many other instances of that happening that we don't hear about. It will be hard now to justify a report to HQ if we can't see the logger's history.

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On 3/24/2022 at 5:46 AM, lee737 said:

Soon you'll be able to navigate to a cache page, and just see a sea of 'anonymous user' finds I guess, probably with private logs, images and all..... sounds great.... not. The armchair loggers will love it - just hide your find list and log away!

But why? Surely the armchair loggers only do that to show off the numbers of finds they have to all and sundry

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1 hour ago, BenM70 said:

But why? Surely the armchair loggers only do that to show off the numbers of finds they have to all and sundry

They do - but it seems their find count will be displayed, but the list of finds can be hidden.... this is why I think hidden finds should equate to hidden find count as well....

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23 hours ago, lodgebarn said:

I just don't get it at all and after all it is just a game I thought. Data protection in general is about what an organisation holds about you and whether it is selling that to third parties not what it displays as part of its basic functionality. Groundspeak seem to be massively over thinking this issue.

I agree with your logic and wonder the same thing. Unfortunately, I cannot rule out that the government restrictions aren't, in fact, requiring companies to provide privacy features even in cases where the entire point of their product is to present a public forum.

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Two thoughts from me:

a) It is a game and it should remain a game. Through this game I have met many great people who have become good friends outside of Geocaching.

b) All those who place so much value on privacy should not be able to see the areas they declare as private with any other geocacher.

Edited by The Waterman
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On 3/24/2022 at 5:18 PM, lodgebarn said:

 

 

I also just wish those curmudgeons who don't wish to share also could not see anybody else's data, that seems fair to me.

Agreed!

 

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On 3/26/2022 at 3:01 AM, barefootjeff said:

 

 

On 3/25/2022 at 11:23 PM, tbbiker said:

I really like this train of thought.  So, if someone decides to make any part of their profile private, then they shouldn't have the option of seeing the same part on another person's profile?  That makes total sense to me.  I like it.  An eye for an eye so to speak.  Hopefully GQ will adopt it.  

Wishfl thinking man!

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I wasn't aware of this change until yesterday.
Although it's something I thought I wanted (after receiving  nasty comments in a private message from some idiot who had only just discovered caching), I'm not sure I like it

Someone with 60K+ finds published a couple of events in my notification area yesterday, well outside their usual area.
They are not a team I know of, and having everything locked down seems very unfriendly.


M

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On 3/24/2022 at 11:00 PM, ChriBli said:

Very few geocachers will use this new possibility, I think

I know I somewhat naively predicted that the new, opt-in privacy features would only be used by those who really needed to, but apparently I was wrong. Or the problems with stalking are far more severe than I thought. Why someone would otherwise hide things is beyond me.

 

1 hour ago, Delta68 said:

Someone with 60K+ finds published a couple of events in my notification area yesterday, well outside their usual area.
They are not a team I know of, and having everything locked down seems very unfriendly.

Don't attend the events, then? Or attend them to find out if they are really unfriendly.

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If given the news that there are options to "protect" your data, I would assume that of people who 'don't care' either way would likely opt in, possibly not thinking about how it affects their presence to the community in general. The paranoid will love the option, those on the fence will likely 'play it safe'. So I wouldn't be surprised at seeing more accounts than expected have these new features enabled just because they're there and available. *shrug*

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2 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

 So I wouldn't be surprised at seeing more accounts than expected have these new features enabled just because they're there and available. *shrug*

 

Yep.  Like "collection" on trackables, people for some odd reason have a fascination with "what does this do...", and click on it.

 - Later, they come to forums and ask what has been changed and why, maybe not even realizing they created their own issue.  :)

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2 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

The paranoid will love the option,

Yep, I know at least one cacher who goes in that category. Everything is hidden from view geocaches found, statistics, gallery, even the trackables are masked. A true paranoid who already has a track record of complaints about privacy. As far as I am concerned, I do believe that when we sign in to participate in this activity we agree to let a lot of data to be public, and therefore visible by everyone. I really do not find these new features very relevant and I don't care about teh whole world knowing about where I go looking for geocaches. 

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On 4/5/2022 at 10:58 PM, Max and 99 said:

I can't understand why Max is not happy with this new privacy setting banner. I think it looks just fine! 😁

 

 

Screenshot_20220405-215525.png


I'm actually really annoyed that I did not get that banner note! My statistics were always hidden and suddenly they became public without warning. NOT impressed Groundspeak.

FWIW I see a lot of folks complaining that people shouldn't be able to hide their stats, but I suspect none of you have ever had a stalker and most are men? Sorry but it is nice to be a geocacher but also need to protect one's privacy. Oddly the new options are like Strava, which I appreciate. Happy for my 'friends' to see everything, less happy for 'public' to see everything. I get that there are differing opinions, of course. 

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On 4/5/2022 at 9:58 PM, Max and 99 said:

I can't understand why Max is not happy with this new privacy setting banner. I think it looks just fine! 😁

 

 

Screenshot_20220405-215525.png

This warning is now further down, in the about section of my profile. Anyone else seeing that change?

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FWIW I don't see this banner on my profile. I guess and hope that it only appears once and is gone after clicking the x.

Still it's disappointing since this banner appears as a "warning" that elements are public and calls out to (especially new) user that it's probably better to hide them - at least for non-friends.

Instead of inviting and making clear that in such collaborating hobby it might be beneficial that you can have a little bit of insight what other players are up to. Especially hiding your history of visited caches I find extremely ignorant towards the community.

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On 3/23/2022 at 6:15 PM, A J Pombo said:

... and about the API ... how can i hide my statistics on other sites, like project-gc or cacherstats? Can i "deny" someone to download, via API, my logs and process the data, showing that in a statistics site?

 

Something I've found very annoying is that opting out of the API opts out all of that person's logs.

 

In practice, this means when I update my GSAK database and a cache is archived or disabled or such by an opted-out user I must go to the website to find out what's going on with the cache. I assume this is also what happens in an app, other than maybe the official app?

 

If you want to hide Finds/Attended, DNF, Will Attend, or even Notes fine. But NM, NA, Enable, Disable, and Archive logs need to always be visible in the API.

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