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Published: November 11, 2022

Written by: Isabella Aslam

  • Stats tracking service Dotabuff seems to circumvent Dota 2’s privacy policies
  • It shows a player’s match history to everybody without their consent
  • This data can be used by other players to counterpick heroes

Recent data found by the Dota 2 community suggest that the stats tracking service Dotabuff leaks players’ private information to everybody.

Dotabuff Has A Serious Issue

Players would often use third-party services to aid them to track a game’s current meta or their personal performance. Dota 2 players are no exception to that and many of them use a service called Dotabuff, which allows them to follow the current trends of the game and keep track of their statistics. However, with the use of other services come some dangers like the leaking of personal information, and it seems like a bug with Dotabuff’s API is doing just that. 

Initially, the service was not suspected of being the culprit for the data leak, but instead, the Dota 2 community speculated that the data leak could be tied to an API bug that Valve hasn’t fixed. However, the latest evidence brought forward by Matthew “Cyborgmatt” Bailey suggests otherwise. According to his data, the Dotabuff service ignores a player’s privacy settings and exposes every single person’s match story. 

What Are the Implications of This Leak?

Valve normally allows players to opt out of its API and prevent websites like Dotabuff peak into their track records, but it seems like the stats tracker is ignoring some of these settings. Cyborgmatt’s data suggests that players to opt out of its API and prevent websites like Dotabuff peak into their track records.

His claims are supported by many who discussed the topic in a Reddit thread. esports analyst Ben “Noxville” Steenhuisen shared that there were three other alternative ways to gather player data, and Dotabuff, as well as other similar services, are already using them. 

Having your match history visible to everyone can give your opponents an unfair advantage. Other players can easily see what heroes you play the most and simply pick the counters for these heroes. This can be done quickly when your opponents check your stats during the pre-match preparations. To counteract this, players with limited hero pools thought they could solve the problem by hiding their matchmaking history. However, the recent data about Dotabuff suggests that this has not been a thing for a while. 

Not only can other players use the information for their unfair advantage in the game, but the problem with Dotabuff also has an ethical side. It’s not right for a service to reveal your data without your personal approval. 

So far, Valve has not formally addressed the matter, but it is up to them to patch out the other ways that allow third parties to fetch user data.

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