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Epic Games officially respond to Steam data use accusations

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Logos of the Epic Games Store and Steam
Epic Games Store v. Steam

Epic Games responded to accusations that their store app is using users' Steam data without permission. The company commented in the Reddit post, saying that the information is collected only if you opt to import your Steam friends list.

Earlier this week, a post on Phoenix Point subreddit appeared in which user named  notte_m_portent accused Epic Games of collecting Steam users' data without their permission. Redditor described the running processes that are trying to access some DLL files and read root certificates without letting the user know.

According to the post, all the data that is collected in the process is sent to Epic and the launcher is found to collect hardware information and store it in the registry.

The post quickly picked up a lot of traction and it's currently just short of 500 upvotes and 300 comments. To stop the story from spreading even further, Epic's vice president of Engineering Daniel Vogel officially commented in the thread.

Vogel denied the accusations and offered some insight into how Epic's launcher actually works. He said that Epic Store uses tracking pixel that is found in the process for their Support-A-Creator program so they can pay creators. He also confirmed that the app is tracking page statistics.

As for the collection of hardware information, Vogel claims that the launcher sends a hardware survey about CPU, GPU and the rest of the components at a regular interval and that more details about that can be found in Epic's privacy policy.

He continued to deny the accusation by saying that the launcher scans active processes to prevent updating games that may be actively running, but insisted this information is not sent to Epic.

According to Vogel, Epic only receives some data if you opt to import your Steam friends list to Epic launcher. 

"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," Vogel explained.

Devcom Logos of the Epic Games Store and SteamDevcom - Tim Sweeney Epic Games

In the same post, Redditor also voiced his discontent with Epic's connection with Chinese company Tencent that allegedly have strong ties to Chinese government which made some people concerned that their data may fall into the wrong hands.

Vogel made it clear that Epic is controlled by Tim Sweeney and that the company have a lot of external shareholders but none of them have access to customer data.

Later, Sweeney himself commented in the thread confirming that Epic are working on changes to Epic Store. He also said that he is to blame for the problem. 

"It's actually my fault for pushing the launcher team to support it super quickly and then identifying that we had to change it. Since this issue came to the forefront we're going to fix it."

You can check the Reddit thread here.