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PokerStars revisits it's ban on SharkScope
 
 
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PokerStars revisits it's ban on SharkScope

PokerStars banned the data mining software called SharkScope to protect it's players. However, their own privacy breach has caused them to modify their decision.

News By Chryssa Forman
Sunday, May 03, 2009

SharkScope is a data mining program for Sit-n-Go tournaments. One week after PokerStars banned the program, it has decided to reconsider. An abundant of players at PokerStars, had received warning emails after having SharkScope and PokerStars running but they were not playing. These players complained and this has caused PokerStars to change its rules with this programs use.




The SharkScope program boasts it has logged over 180 million Sit-n-Go tournaments from 17 networks. This data is then stored for public use. They will allow five free searches or you can buy a subscription to allow many more searches per day. The use of this database was recently banned by PokerStars and it was added to a long list of programs that are not allowed. PokerStars opposes the publicly posting players profit statistics unless the player has specifically granted their permission.




PokerStars has strived to protected player’s privacy by working with data mining programs but SharkScope has refused to data mine only players who have given their consent. PokerStars then decided to protect its players by monitoring for the SharkScope usage. This resulted in its own privacy breach.




PokerStars made this announcement:




"We understand that players have expressed concerns regarding our recent detection methods, and we recognize that we made a mistake. Consequently, we will explain the error, and correct it.”




"We detected players who visited the SharkScope website by having the PokerStars Client monitor active network connections using built in Windows functions for that purpose. The data returned by this function is similar to that which is returned by the Windows accessory called 'Netstat'. A periodic query to Windows determined whether the SharkScope IP was being accessed. This was a YES/NO query, purely regarding access to the specific SharkScope IP address. If a connection to the SharkScope IP was detected, this fact and only this fact was sent back to the PokerStars server. We then sent warning emails to players who had accessed SharkScope in conjunction with the PokerStars Client.”




"This technique ensured that players accessing the SharkScope website were detected without breaching their right to privacy. At no stage was a player's internet browsing history ever queried, or transmitted from the PokerStars Client to the PokerStars Server."




PokerStars has decided to disable the detection of the SharkScope software due to the number of players calling for it. They will however continue to work at protecting players and the gathering of information without consent. SharkScope still remains on the prohibited list at PokerStars but only while involved in a game.



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