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Epic responds to accusations its launcher accesses Steam data without permission

Epic has responded to growing concern its launcher accesses users’ Steam data without permission.

The company responded to a post on the subreddit for Phoenix Point, itself the focus of a controversy after signing a deal to go exclusive with the Epic Games store for a year, in which a user revealed the Epic Games store client pokes around your computer when it shouldn’t.

The Epic Games store has certainly ruffled feathers since launching in December 2018.

In the post, titled Epic Game Store, Spyware, Tracking, and You!, redditor notte_m_portent accused Epic of running processes and making attempts to access DLLs and root certificates without letting the user know. According to the post, the data obtained was found to be sent to Epic, and the Epic Games store app was found to store hardware information in the registry.

As you’d expect, this post sparked a great deal of concern, which promoted Daniel Vogel, VP of Engineering at Epic to step in with a response.

Vogel confirmed the Epic Games store uses a tracking pixel, aka tracking.js for the company’s Support-A-Creator program, so it can pay creators. He also confirmed the app tracks page statistics. Elsewhere, Vogel confirmed the launcher sends a hardware survey at a regular interval, which, he stressed, is outlined in Epic’s privacy policy.

Vogel then confirmed the launcher scans your active processes to prevent updating games currently running, but insisted this information was not sent to Epic.

“We only import your Steam friends with your explicit permission,” Vogel added. “The launcher makes an encrypted local copy of your localconfig.vdf Steam file. However information from this file is only sent to Epic if you choose to import your Steam friends, and then only hashed ids of your friends are sent and no other information from the file.”