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It was recently brought to our attention that a third-party site has allegedly used data from Ingress without our consent. Extracting, scraping, or indexing our services or content is a violation of the Ingress Terms of Service. Niantic does not condone the use of websites or methods that have done so.

We are evaluating all options to protect our users, our game, and our rights and will take further action where appropriate. We are also reviewing the long-term plan for the Guardian medal.

Ambassadors and trusted reporters alleged to have been involved in the recent activity have either voluntarily stepped down or will be excused from their roles.

Ingress is defined by the passionate players who enable amazing experiences. We ask that you continue to foster relationships and make Ingress a welcoming community within and outside the game.

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I avoid difficult conversations as a rule. The Brokers Guild reveal is a difficult conversation that can't be avoided. Let us begin.

Thesis: This is an unprecendented ingress-crime, a conspiracy. We have all of the mob bosses, caught red-handed. It's time for Niantic to do a Rico prosecution. Ban them all.

* I haven't seen a single res posting acknowledging the victims of this tool, or the scope of harm done, so I'm going to remind people. Losing a guardian that is about to ripen is painful. Knowing that it's because the killer cheated twists the knife. Many, many players quit as a result. Res agents know this. Everybody knows people who lost guardians to scrapers and how it feels. Just because the effect is less now that guardian doesn't matter doesn't change the past. Those victims deserve justice. This tool and it's predecessor cheated with massive evil results. If I had access to the tool I'd run queries to see exactly how many centuries of guardians they denied, how many agents they stole the medal from. They should be interesting numbers, the designers and users should feel quite proud -- at least they are successful cheats.

* "It's just screenshots" is the weakest of sauces. Niantic can begin an investigation. If they contact the 800 guild members I'm sure they'll find about 3 members who are honest to cooperate and provide all the evidence needed. After that as an example of how to proceed: membership in the guild creates a presumption of guilt. An individual agent can present evidence that they really had nothing to do with the guild to overcome that presumption. Like logging in just a few times and then abandoning the slack would pass my test.

* For the res agents who still can't get it, imagine the guild had a prominent feature "spoof a portal". Further, they could see it being used to do a large % of the spoofing in ingress. Of course everybody who saw that, saw the membership list, was a leader, and did nothing is guilty as sin regardless if they ever pushed the button personally. Don't join a giant cheating conspiracy and then say well it wasn't me doing it. You all did it.

* "have you ever violated tos? in that park 5 minutes late?". More weak sauce. The reason this crime demands harsh punishment is the quantity and quality of the cheating are at the greatest scale. A grain of sand versus a mountain. Notice also I'm not asking to ban everybody who touched the cheating data. I am very sympathetic of the final agent in the field who was just asked by his team to do a thing. Or even the people in regional chats, who will vary in how much they should know. These people though are the elite of the res. The admission requirement of 2 vouches + 8 chained together is a powerful filter to eliminate idiots who don't actually know any better. Any user of the system sees industrial scale cheating going on. The elite have an oversized influence in setting local standards of acceptable behavior and they chose as a group to cheat.

* Niantic's reaction will have a tremendous effect on game play to come. It's very fluid right now. Banning will create momentum for fair play. Not banning is a statement that the elite are above the law. How could anybody win an internal argument for fair play after that?

* The tools lets those in the club have God Mode. Playing God is fun, but humans are terrible Gods. The first time a res agent (+Dwayne Maxwell) told me he had access to a perfect scraper database that "he used only for cheating investigations" I thought "well I trust you with that" (Dwayne is very fair) "but I'd never trust me with it". Because most of the time I'd be fine, but in my weakest moment I'd abuse the magic box. And I trust me a hell of lot more than the names I see. The ability to hand out God rights makes the owners of the system all-powerful kings of the res: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rStL7niR7gs

* In life and in ingress being elite means not having to face consequences. I would love for Niantic to offer justice here. I hope that the typical res who doesn't get to play God but does know what it's like to face a guardian scraper can see this as justice too.

I'll deal with the enlightened do it too in another post, making that OT here. I'll delete anything rude of off topic.


+John Hanke +Andrew Krug +Vicki Ellen +Eric Zorrilla
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You guys.

Setting up a hidden camera in a classroom is illegal for all sorts of reasons mostly related to privacy.

If I discovered that I could set up a hidden camera, watch my students taking a test, and root out people cheating on a quiz that way...it would probably be effective for doing that. I could tell a lot of people about how to set up hidden cameras in classrooms to catch students cheating on quizzes. And you could certainly point out that this is just an automated version of walking around the room and watching students take the quiz to make sure they're not using notes, or correlating the answers of students who sit next to each other to see if they match and were looking over each others' shoulders. Hey, if I kept all this on file, then if someone were caught cheating in another class, we'd have proof of known associates. Proof that we wouldn't be able to use if the issue came up, but proof nonetheless.

If I explained this to my coworkers and had a mailing list called "Using Video to Catch Cheaters 101" and everyone else started doing it too...

Well then we'd all be doing something illegal. And the people who didn't call it out would be complicit in saving private data that could be used for all sorts of things.

Stop justifying saving agents' personal location data by saying it helps you catch cheaters. I don't care what it helps you do in addition to the more petty/vindictive guardian hunting game. It's against the spirit of the game, it's one-sided (locally) and it's a breach of responsibility as a leader to not put a stop to it when you discover it's happening. Additionally, you're saving a bunch of people's location data in what can apparently be forwarded to lots of other chats where who even knows what happens to it, so even if you can swear up and down that the original Brokers' Guild was full of the most upstanding citizens possible, can you account for where that data is going next?

It is disappointing to me to find local Resistance leadership on the list of agents using this game. We had what I thought was a long and forthright conversation about automated tools earlier in the year. On our side, we had a tool that enabled searching for a portal by name. It inadvertently allowed searching for a user's portals, and although it had not been used for that purpose--once it was discovered, that functionality was immediately removed. We also had long conversations about boundaries and what we valued, which was not collectng data that could be used to stalk someone when what we just wanted was the ability to search for a portal by name. Meanwhile, the same leadership on the other side had knowledge of, was using, or was forwarding information to their communities data from much more powerful tools. And instead of responding in kind with "ok, you're right, that is not good and we'll fix it" the response has been silence. Or "don't name names." So I'm not naming names, but you know who you are if you've had a conversation with me or another Bay Area ENL about scraping in the last year. If you want to show leadership....grow a spine and deal with this issue internally and stop trying to justify collecting private data. Stop making sarcastic comments about "yeah it's all hand-written" and fix your problems. If you are a regular Bay Area Resistance agent...it's possible to win without collecting and using this sort of data. It's possible to look for spoofers without it. So tell your leaders to knock it off and start playing fair.

SFENL does not condone scraping of COMM data or storing it in a way that can be used to identify the past locations of players from either side.

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+ollie tronic speaks for me (though my first anomaly, on the ground, was Darsana Santa Cruz, exactly 44 days after I started playing Ingress, and 34 days after making L8). If qualified, documented rechargers can't have their contributions recognized, then I don't need mine to be recognized either. (I'll still be on the ground in San Francisco on 2 December!)
I hold every anomaly medal since the first anomaly in which I participated, Helios: Tacoma.

The only times I acted as boots was at Helios and when I served at Obsidian: Seattle as POC.

I have never participated in a recharge room.

I operate. That's what I do -- it's not much of a secret these days.

When the event is close enough and my finances allow, I attend the anomaly despite the fact that I could get the badge from home. I don't attend anomalies for badges. I attend anomalies to see my friends. I attend anomalies because it's what I ask others to do for the team. I attend anomalies because they're fun and I'm privileged enough to spend money on a plane ticket, a hotel room, and countless pieces of swag.

Sometimes, people can't make it to the anomaly. I've handed keys to folks suffering from acute head trauma, to folks recovering from chemotherapy, to folks rendered unable to walk or even ride in a car due to surgery, and to folks living without homes. These people are my team, my home community, and also my friends. Many of them too have never missed a badge since the first time they participated. These efforts have been documented through spreadsheets, screenshots, group photos, and countless selfies.

And they'll continue participating. We like to win. We like to help one another. We like to show up to a bar 20-deep and sit on our phones drinking and laughing and cheering on the people who made it to the ground. We like selfies.

We build community, #MyIngressFamily and I. Badge or no badge, we play to win.

As an operator, I have access to some of the feedback that agents have given us over the last two years. The data bear out the ground agents recognizing the contributions of recharger efforts. "We would not have been able to hold the portal if it wasn't for the recharge team." "And there are not enough words to praise the rechargers." "Recharge rooms: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"

Rechargers don't devalue anomaly badges by the absence of their physical presence. I knew this when I was on the ground, I knew this when I operated, and I know this when I return home to folks that are excited and happy to have participated in an ENL win. It makes all of the countless hours shuffling keys and trying to play with a working inventory of 500 slots worth it. I do it because it's what you do for family. It's what I can do for the team. #RechargeIsFamily.

For the first time in two years, I will not register as a participant. I will not buy swag. I will not hack the registration portal. I will see you in San Francisco for Q4.

+Andrew Krug +Jennifer Pisano +Sarah New +Meredith +Mat F. +Niantic +Niantic Project

#MyIngressFamily #RechargeIsFamily
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Upon hearing of the possibility of the Houston anomaly being cancelled i had a bit of panic attack. Wait!! What??
Starting with Shonin connected cell before i even knew what an anomaly was. I left my grandmothers hospital room to bust blockers for the Quincy shard. Ive never missed an anomaly series.
Unfortunatly if Houston is cancelled and the removal of recharge room badge eligibility this will be my first one.
Boulder isnt an option. Due to a serious heart condition the altitude could pose a significant health risk if not kill me. Cali/Hawaii although lovely are not financially possible.
Starting months ago we made arrangements for lodging, pulled overtime shifts to afford both niantic and location swag as well as travel money. And used the last few vacation days to make the trip to houston doable.
And thats just me.
Houston POCs have dedicated hours of work to secure sites and event needs. Swag has been developed and already purchased. They're on the hook for thousands. Theyve farmed for hours for keys and made arrangements for their transfer to recharge rooms. They are now ineligible for the badge due to a few who abused the system.
They are not paid. They do it because they love the team. They love the game. We are ready to go!
Don't make all all of their hard work useless. Harvey punished Houston enough. Don't punish them more!!
+Ingress+Andrew Krug
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After any kind of disaster, what is the one thing a city needs more than anything?

Money.

What’s the second most important?

A reason to be happy.

During Hurricane Harvey, countless people lost everything they had. The city suffered innumerable property damage and loss.

Canceling any event in the wake of this tragedy is just going to create more. Canceling an event that would bring in thousands of dollars from out of state tourism is further disastrous.

The Exo5 Houston anomaly scheduled for November 4th was something for agents affected by the hurricane to look forward to. A reason to be hopeful, a reason to smile and see friends when they’ve just lost everything they’ve owned. For some, it was a reason to return to normal, because a job and prep work still needed to be done.

For the city of Houston, this anomaly meant money poured into the local economy. Money from hotels, entertainment and food sales. It was a way to bring people to a city hit hard by Mother Nature, people who wouldn’t come for any other reason besides the XM anomaly.

The intent behind replacing Exo5 with an Operation Clear Field event was heartfelt. OCF events are community service driven. But they don’t drive attendance like an anomaly does. I’ve been coast to coast for XM anomalies (more than once). I didn’t attend one of the three OCF events that happened in Michigan this past summer.

The area in which the anomaly would take place is largely undamaged, and the city will continue to make repairs to the surrounding areas up to and past the date Exo5 was scheduled to happen. The Houston government is urging planners not to cancel events, because they know what they mean for the city at large.

In the wake of such a disaster, I can’t think of one thing better Niantic can do for the healing city of Houston.

+Ingress +Andrew Krug +John Hanke


#IStandwithHouston #HoustonStrong
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That hotel block doesn't materialize out of nowhere, someone negotiated the rates, number of nights, and rooms offered, signed a contract, and agreed to be on the hook if the block didn't sell.

That swag didn't just show up one day, someone organized the artwork submissions, paid deposits on items, ran a store, ordered everything, organized everything and delivered it to the players.

The faction after party wasn't spontaneous. Someone researched venues, negotiated prices, times, and food and drink options, signed a contract, put money down, fund raised, paid for decorations, and organized the party.

The snacks and water in the trunk wasn't there this whole time, someone put up their own cash to buy all 500 bottles of water and 15 boxes of rice crispy treats, then struggled to get it all in their car (personal experience).

None of what happens on an anomaly weekend just happens. Anomalies become a POC's second unpaid job. They don't get enough sleep during those weeks and months leading up to the anomaly, other parts of their life take a back seat, they put their own money up for the good of their faction. I speak from personal POC experience on each of these points. I have put more money up for my faction than is really reasonable, but each time I've done so with secure knowledge that an anomaly would be coming to the city I was working with, and I'd be paid back. I know others who have done the same do so for the same reason.

I didn't think it was possible that Niantic could be so unaware of what goes into an anomaly at the POC level at this point, 4 years of anomalies later, but apparently this is a point that is still lost on Niantic. I won't lie, when Harvey hit I figured the anomaly would be cancelled quickly, and it may have made sense to do so at that time when so much uncertainty existed. But 4 weeks later, when the city has held a professional football game and asked repeatedly for conventions and other events to continue as scheduled, leaves me questioning what the reasoning really is, since it can't possibly be that Niantic is worried about the player's safety. If that were the case, Niantic wouldn't be prepared to endorse players being in the area with a clear field event.

As others have mentioned, imminent and ongoing natural threats in other countries have failed to convince Niantic to cancel anomalies. Typhoons and volcanoes were not enough to cancel. Even a Hurricane isn't really enough to cancel, since we'll apparently still see a clear field event.

If Niantic goes forward with this plan, it is a slap in the face to all POCs of both factions - I can't imagine anyone being willing to do everything we as POCs have been doing for years after this. I hope Niantic has thought this through. Considered all that POCs do to drive attendance at the anomalies that Niantic puts on. Hotel blocks, transportation options, after parties, swag, everything POCs do drives attendance.

Pulling an anomaly amid a crisis is one thing, but leaving POCs hanging for a month, and then pulling the anomaly sends a message that Niantic thinks faction organizers don't do anything beyond what Niantic can see, or if Niantic knows and appreciates what goes into all this planning, Niantic simply doesn't care.

#EXO5 #Houstonstrong #houstonisready #Istandwithhouston

+Andrew Krug +John Hanke +Ingress
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Can we talk about the inside of an anomaly for a minute?

A lot of Ingress players know what the outside of an anomaly looks like. You show up, hang out at the hotel with your faction, go to a Friday night social, meet your teammates, pick up your swag, get your picture taken at the Niantic start point, play hard for three hours, drink a bottle of water someone hands you just when you realize you're dehydrated, play even harder for that last hour, hear the score announcement from Niantic, party all night long, and wake up in your hotel room the next morning unsure how you got there. It's the most fun you can have with hundreds of your closest friends, and you immediately look forward to the next one.

Most of us don't ever see the inside of an anomaly. (And I'm no expert, so this is just a sampling.) Anomalies are player-organized events. A group of people from each faction took off running the minute Niantic announced that that city was getting an anomaly. These players proceeded to spend hundreds and hundreds of hours of their time to make all of the things in the previous paragraph happen. They worked with the other faction and Niantic to select a playbox. They planned parties and other events. They plotted a strategy and organized teams and hired and trained operators and team leaders. They designed, ordered, and bagged swag. They advertised flight deals and found accommodations for all the out-of-town players, usually by signing an expensive hotel contract. They helped Niantic find venues for registration, the start photo, the score announcement, and Mission Day. They went to Costco and bought cases of water and distributed them into cars so that one bottle could find you at that one moment when you needed it.

Anomalies are player-organized events. The folks who did all of these things were local or regional volunteers. Neither faction has a pool of professional anomaly organizers who are paid out of some faction slush fund. They did these things while holding down jobs, while taking care their families, and while going to school. And the Houston anomaly organizers have been doing these things while bailing floodwaters, while ripping out damaged carpet and drywall, and, in some cases, while living in a hotel.

Anomalies are player-organized events. This is one of their greatest strengths. They aren't corporate events. Each anomaly site has its own local flavor, and that keeps me traveling to them again and again. Anomaly organizers do it for love of the game, love of their faction, and love of their local community. That love shows.

For Niantic to cancel Houston's anomaly, when the city is open for business, when the tourism board says they want us to come, when the anomaly organizers have put so much on the line, would be a kick in the teeth to its organizers. Even if they were to replace it with a non-competitive Ingress event, that won't bring the hundreds of players to town that an anomaly would. Who would book all the hotel rooms, buy all the swag, and attend the parties that the organizers have already put themselves at great financial risk to arrange?

Anomalies are player-organized events. I stand with the Houston anomaly's organizers.

+Ingress +Andrew Krug +John Hanke

#HoustonRising #HoustonIsReady #IStandWithHouston #HoustonStrong
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Can we talk about the inside of an anomaly for a minute?

A lot of Ingress players know what the outside of an anomaly looks like. You show up, hang out at the hotel with your faction, go to a Friday night social, meet your teammates, pick up your swag, get your picture taken at the Niantic start point, play hard for three hours, drink a bottle of water someone hands you just when you realize you're dehydrated, play even harder for that last hour, hear the score announcement from Niantic, party all night long, and wake up in your hotel room the next morning unsure how you got there. It's the most fun you can have with hundreds of your closest friends, and you immediately look forward to the next one.

Most of us don't ever see the inside of an anomaly. (And I'm no expert, so this is just a sampling.) Anomalies are player-organized events. A group of people from each faction took off running the minute Niantic announced that that city was getting an anomaly. These players proceeded to spend hundreds and hundreds of hours of their time to make all of the things in the previous paragraph happen. They worked with the other faction and Niantic to select a playbox. They planned parties and other events. They plotted a strategy and organized teams and hired and trained operators and team leaders. They designed, ordered, and bagged swag. They advertised flight deals and found accommodations for all the out-of-town players, usually by signing an expensive hotel contract. They helped Niantic find venues for registration, the start photo, the score announcement, and Mission Day. They went to Costco and bought cases of water and distributed them into cars so that one bottle could find you at that one moment when you needed it.

Anomalies are player-organized events. The folks who did all of these things were local or regional volunteers. Neither faction has a pool of professional anomaly organizers who are paid out of some faction slush fund. They did these things while holding down jobs, while taking care their families, and while going to school. And the Houston anomaly organizers have been doing these things while bailing floodwaters, while ripping out damaged carpet and drywall, and, in some cases, while living in a hotel.

Anomalies are player-organized events. This is one of their greatest strengths. They aren't corporate events. Each anomaly site has its own local flavor, and that keeps me traveling to them again and again. Anomaly organizers do it for love of the game, love of their faction, and love of their local community. That love shows.

For Niantic to cancel Houston's anomaly, when the city is open for business, when the tourism board says they want us to come, when the anomaly organizers have put so much on the line, would be a kick in the teeth to its organizers. Even if they were to replace it with a non-competitive Ingress event, that won't bring the hundreds of players to town that an anomaly would. Who would book all the hotel rooms, buy all the swag, and attend the parties that the organizers have already put themselves at great financial risk to arrange?

Anomalies are player-organized events. I stand with the Houston anomaly's organizers.

+Ingress +Andrew Krug +John Hanke

#HoustonRising #HoustonIsReady #IStandWithHouston #HoustonStrong
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Houston Exo 5 feedback.

I just farmed keys in the playbox last Thursday, and my whole visit was clean, safe, and fully operational.

More significantly, I've taken cues from my Houston leadership, who want the event for many reasons.

An enl recharge lead took significant water damage to their home. Yet, when we spoke, this lead was set to get work done, for community and anomaly. This lead has seen many agents help with the home damage, and has also been helping others. This lead understands the value an anomaly event brings in a personal and financial level, and wants these for friends and community. This lead is but one of the unified and amazing team I'm taking cues from. They want this as planned to lift spirits​ in a fun and supportive event. and to help their community in a strong way.

A full anomaly lures the most people. I don't care what moralizing there may be around that, the end result still remains: an anomaly event will lure more participants.

More participants means more influx of tourist dollars in a city that's been open for business already for awhile, but needs more.

More participants means more direct support to local agents. More hugs, more service.

The dark side of cancelling the anomaly is of course, venues have been booked by leadership. Meaning, planners who were told to plan for an anomaly are now accountable to big expenses if cancelled. That's the OPPOSITE of what they needed.

Macau wasn't cancelled amid three typhoons, one in days before the event, one that moved in during Sunday, and a third in the following week.

Bali wasn't cancelled while volcanic action was dubbed "imminent." Even if magma might not explode the playbox, ash would have shut down the airports and made the air dangerous. Fortunately we didn't have to witness the "imminent" eruption during the event.

Now, Houston had it's own disaster, months prior to the event. The site isn't actively dangerous to locals and visitors like the aforementioned anomaly events. Houston is, in fact, declared as open for business and the economy is hungry for visitors.

There are already flights and hotels booked on top of it all from visitors. A cancellation is rough on them, and rough on Houston if their funds are withdrawn.

From all the above, keep this alive.

+NIA Ops​​​ +Niantic Project​​​ +Ingress​​​ +John Hanke​​​ +Bill Kilday​​ +Andrew Krug​​​ +Chiplander​​​ #Exo5 #HoustonStrong #TexasStrong
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