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Florian Kah (GreenOyster)

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Oh, ich bin überwältigt. Und wo genau werde ich diese „EXKLUSIVEN INFORMATIONEN“ (Anm. d. Red.: es fehlt !!!!!11111ELF) sehen? Im Scanner, wo die Infobox schneller weg ist als ich lesen kann ohne Möglichkeit sie zurück zu holen? Im Google Plus wo niemand ist? Facebook wo ich nicht sein will? YouTube, der Kanal, der vor etwa zwei Jahren evakuiert wurde weil Produktionskosten zu teuer sind und die Geschichte eh keinen interessiert?

Ich bin gespannt. Und so Elite. Wahrscheinlich werde ich erschossen weil ich drüber geredet habe.

To keep track of recharging my region, I want to extend the portal list with information on "actual energy" and "maximum energy" for a list of portals. "Health %" is already provided. Do I get the energy level from the list of portals or do I have to get to detailed information of ONE portal? If the latter, is it safe to request this detail info on a list of portals without being penalized by Niantic?

Wer es bei #Ingress verpasst hat, wir haben einen kleinen Skandal, genannt #RIOTgate. Ich habe folgende Fragen und versuche sie zu beleuchten: 1) Was ist passiert? 2) Was kümmert es uns? 3) Was ist betroffen? 4) Was wird sich ändern?

/TLDR: Alles scheiße und Niantic ist selber schuld. Ändert sich eh nichts.

Was ist passiert? Ein Tool, das Informationen der Intel Karte nimmt, speichert und verarbeitet, genannt „Riot“ wurde durch ein „Leck“ bekannt. Damit eine lange Liste von Nutzern und wie ihre Funktion zum Tool ist. Die Intel Karte in Ingress zeigt nicht nur die aktuellen Portale auf einer Karte sondern zeigt auch den Chat und aktuelle Aktionen der Ingress Comm. Laut AGB von Niantic darf man diese Informationen zwar lesen aber nicht speichern oder verarbeiten.

Was kümmert es uns? Wer drei Schritte geradeaus denken kann, hat schon sehr früh gemerkt, dass alles was wir in Ingress machen für jeden anderen transparent zu sehen ist. Die Ex-Freundin, der Arbeitgeber, der Agent der anderen Seite sieht wo ich gestern um 20 Uhr war. Dafür muss man nur zur richtigen Zeit am richtigen Ort der Intel Karte gucken oder den Scanner offen haben. Was habe ich letzten Monat gemacht? Wo war ich im Urlaub? Das ist schon schwieriger. Mit Tools wie RIOT (und anderen) wird diese Information durchsuchbar aufbereitet. Mit genug Geschick könnte sich auch jeder sowas zu Hause nachbauen in Klein. Die Informationen der Spieler sind jederzeit überall zugänglich. Das Tool macht es einfacher.

Was ist betroffen? So wie ich die Sache sehe, ist mittelfristig alles von der Diskussion betroffen. Die AGB von Niantic wurde in den vergangenen Jahren so gut wie nie verfolgt. Offensichtliche Cheater wurden erst nach massiver Community Intervention gesperrt, Ingress Item Shops machen offen in der Comm Werbung, Spieler bauen alles mögliche was Niantic verpasst: eine gute Intel Karte, Swag, Bio Cards,... Entweder glaubt Niantic, dass ein Warnschild den Zaun ersetzen kann oder sie sind unfähig einen vernünftigen Zaun zu setzen.

Riot ist nicht das einzige Tool in der Community. Ganz vorne dabei ist die IITC (Ingress Intel komplett umgebaut). Das ist eine Serie von Scripts, die auf dem eigenen Rechner laufen und die Informationen der Intel verarbeiten. Die ursprüngliche IITC wurde rechtskräftig abgemahnt und musste gelöscht werden. Das Internet vergisst nichts und kurze Zeit später haben sich andere gefunden, die den gelöschten Code bis heute weiterentwickeln. Ein paar gute Funktionen der Intel Karte kommen aus IITC, große Aktionen und Events wären ohne IITC nicht möglich. IITC birgt aber schon den Samen des Missbrauchs, daher drückt Niantic achtzehn Augen zu.
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TL;DR: Stop the witch hunt. Remember that agents are people. Focus on yourself. And ask the right questions.


Are YOU innocent?

News of the Brokers Guild burst out in Ingress communities around the globe today. Apparently, it's a group of Resistance agents who are using data outside of the Ingress app. Stories of guardian hunting and spoofer stopping are plentiful. And the word "cheat" is everywhere.

But are YOU innocent? Is your every action relating to this game in line with every aspect of the TOS?

-- Are you, or do you know and support the existence of a child agent under the age of 13? Child agents were allowed at one point but the TOS has been changed to require a certain age. By continuing to play the game, we all agreed to this change.

-- Have you ever shared your account password?

-- Have you made or purchased anything with logos, symbols, or terms of Niantic origin? This could be expanded to include something as simple as using the terms Enlightened or Resistance on team material that is then sold as swag. Our license to use Niantic's resources is non-commercial and extensive.

-- Have you defamed other agents while playing the game? Been apart of "smack talk" while part of a farm? Have you been part of teaching new teammates about agents on the other team they've never met?

-- Have you submitted ridiculous portal candidates? OPR has seen no shortage of portals that users clearly didn't believe would be accepted. I think my personal favorite was a package of Twizzlers. Uploading false, fraudulent, or misleading content extends to portal submissions. Niantic even added an extra sentence to strengthen this stance.

-- Have you actively discouraged cross faction relationships? You're discriminating against an entire group of people.

-- Have you ever driven while playing Ingress? Or played in a vehicle where the driver was playing Ingress? If so, is cell phone use while driving illegal in your play area or just a bad idea?

-- Have you ever trespassed to play this game or told another player how they could trespass to accomplish a game related goal? Are you always 100% sure you're allowed to be where you are in game at the time you're there?

-- Have you ever submitted content that violated copyright? Or knowingly interacted with portals that did so?

-- Have you used any program not authored by Niantic to display Ingress related data? Any element of this game at all? Did you have their written permission to do so?

-- Outside of your mind, do you have access to or use anything that logs agents' names or play? This would include player tracker and any data on their play patterns, couch portals, and desk portals INCLUDING word of mouth sharing of this information with other agents, even if that agent has already revealed these things.

-- Do you always have permission from everyone you photograph or video record in connection with your Ingress play?

-- Do you aggressively protect or attack specific portals?

-- If an agent's commentary to you in comms is undesirable, do you engage them in return, either through the game or not? If you're engaging other agents, are the exchanges amicable and desired by both parties?

-- Have you ever used more than one account? Have you benefited from the play of agents who do? Do you field, plan, farm, or in any way play with agents who, to your knowledge, violate TOS?

-- Do you report the offensive content or behavior you see to Niantic? Every time, every agent, no matter how close they may be to you? Or which faction they play for?

-- Do you knowingly use GPS variances to interact in game with portals that are not at your exact physical coordinates? Scanners drift. Do you hack when your icon is not in the same place you are?

Are YOU innocent?

I don't know any player who is. Even the origin of the Brokers Guild expose isn't; they either misrepresented themselves as trustworthy teammate(s) or hacked into this resource belonging to another group. The list they've composed and shared publicly is in violation of the TOS on acquiring user data, even if the agents on this list submitted their names to the location they were taken from. Sharing this publicly defames these agents; according to TOS, this should have been submitted to Niantic and Niantic only.

I don't condone or condemn any of these actions, either listed above or taken by members of this guild. I am taking a stance that we're asking the wrong questions when we say "Is it cheating?" or proclaiming innocence or a lack thereof.

Do YOU feel honest in your play and that your actions are a reflection of your integrity? Is this still true even if you do or have done things that are in violation of the exact wording of the TOS because "the ends justify the means"? Have YOU made sure YOUR actions in game don't compromise your character?

Do you remember that agents are people first? Always? Fallible people who make mistakes and, as fellow virtual reality game nerds, are frequently people worth knowing regardless of what button they pushed when they downloaded the Ingress app?

Some of the best and most meaningful experiences of my life have come as a result of my play as an Ingress agent. I've made many friendships and connections that continue to exist outside of this game including agents of both factions. I've seen things I never knew were in the world around me and traveled to places I had no other reason to go because of Ingress. There are no shortage of things I love about this game. And no, I am not innocent of everything on this list or every other possible rule that could be broken.

But I am honest and strive to be the best person, agent, and friend that I can. My integrity is important to me. And I'm not willing to condemn someone else for their actions, especially when I don't know what motivated their choices.

Written as a response to the heartfelt posting of a Resistance agent admitting his role in the Brokers Guild earlier today. That can be seen here:

Niantic TOS:
Ingress Community Guidelines:

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Riot and the brokersguild. (TL:DR at bottom)

I figured I would give some honesty and clarity around the whole ordeal, at least from my side. I cannot speak for anyone else.

A few years ago we had guardian kills here in southern maryland popping up left and right. We were seeing 2am kills in closed parks, 6am kills at closed facilities. The same "agent" killing multiple guardians 200 miles away from each other a mere 30 minutes apart.

These were targeted kills, hitting portals well over 100 days (but not quite 150) and only killing Southern Maryland Resistance Agent portals. We knew we had a spoofer at hand.

At that time I was much more a public figure in Ingress than I am now. I've refocused my energy at work to improve myself and focused on family in ways that have increased leaps and bounds before TaterBugLove became a thing. That opened my eyes that my family was more important than anything and while I still play, it is much less, usually with them if on the weekend, and my G+ presence has decreased dramatically.

I digress, at this point (with the non stop guardian kills) I asked in a global hangout if I could get some help figuring out who this "agent" is. I was directed to a tool that is now what you all have seen as Riot/The Brokers Guild. It was through these tools that I was able to identify a pattern with this "agent" and locate where he had been. This was a point in Ingress where spoofer is 100x worse than it is now and it was my only option for being able to track him down (at least I felt it was, perhaps self justification)

It worked, I was able to determine where he had been, I was able to locate other agents outside of my immediate area who also noticed his behavior because the tools let me see where he had gone. I was able to get screenshots from them and use this to report with enough evidence to have them banned (despite many prior attempts with much less evidence of distance between portals)

I am not and have not been in the slack chat for as long as I can recall. I did join for a week or 2 to understand how it all worked and deleted the channel from my phone. This does not mean that I believe myself to innocent. I know that this was a "dark arts" tool and I used it at my own risk, full well knowing that.

I do not regret it because it did stop that spoofer and many others in our area.

I do not seek out others guardians, though I do have access if I wanted. I do not have email alerts setup with locations and times for any agents, local or otherwise. I have probably logged in a dozen times.

Just because someones names is on some list as having access doesn't always make them a bad guy. Yes, I saw the screenshots, but please understand that was not my intent, and may not have been the intent of others.

TL:DR - I have access and used it to track spoofers, that does not make me innocent.
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I have been deeply disturbed by so many of the revelations about the Brokers Guild. The sheer number of agents involved, including many that I considered colleagues. The fundamental disconnect between how my player community and other player communities I have worked closely with view this game we love and how the community leaders in the Brokers Guild view it.

But there is nothing more sickening than the argument I’ve heard in a few places that the Brokers Guild was fundamentally on the side of the Right, rooting out cheating that endangers the soul of Ingress.

The Guild is not an anti-spoofing league, nor are the tools it built tools for catching cheats.

A bot that spits out lists of the oldest portals owned by a specific agent, or the oldest portals in a geographic area, is not for catching spoofers.

A scraper to spot hack mods being deployed is not for catching spoofers.

A counter that tallies your guardian hits in terms of how many of your opponents’ days you have wasted is not for catching spoofers.

Automated alerts that push to every RESWUE client in your community when your local opponents are throwing a flash farm are not for catching spoofers.

Augmented reality gameplay is new and exciting territory. Yes, we all put our privacy on the line a bit every day that we play Ingress. But we also get to help define the cultural norms on using one another's location information.

There has been some back-and-forth this week about whether x specific feature of #RIOT is technically within bounds of the Ingress TOS. Or whether Niantic is aware of some features that are clear TOS violations but tolerates them because they’ve been used to catch spoofers. I await Niantic’s statement on the latter question.

But so much of what is revealed in these screen shots is so far outside of the bounds of moral behavior. No one ends up in a Slack by mistake — you have to explicitly accept an invitation, and it is clear that one of the requirements for membership in this Slack was registration with your real agent name, spelling quirks and all. Joining the Brokers Guild was a conscious choice.

And once in, well, we can all now see what the members saw, in public channels inside that Slack. Guardian hit requests, complete with automated lists of which Brokers live nearby. (The deals being brokered were guardian hits, not spoofer stings.) People helping each other set up bot access in other chat platforms to propagate scraped data to their local communities. Players building portfolios of agents whose every move they wanted to stalk.

Arguing about the technicality of TOS violations for behaviors like this is so far beside the point as to not even be in the same county.

And if some of the agents tracked by these tools did turn out to be spoofers? There is a term for this: vigilante justice. If whoever has the cleverest computer program gets to decide who deserves Onyx Guardian, that’s not morality but an arms race. Some of the tools in the RIOT suite could be useful to catch spoofers, but at the huge cost of exposing enormous amounts of personal information about innocent Ingress agents.

Somehow, the hundreds of people in that Slack, even if they weren’t all participating, stayed silent about what they saw there.

That is destroying the soul of Ingress.

+John Hanke
+Andrew Krug
+NIA Ops

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I'm not involved enough in the top levels of Ingress to have much to do with RIOT. I'm also glad I hadn't heard of until I wasted too many minutes of my life reading about the current "scandal". I know how this would have went if the ENL had been outed spectacularly. The RES would have pounced on them just as the ENL did yesterday. It would have been the same shit show reversed.

The game is addictive and it provokes unreasonably strong passions about imaginary things. I'm not certain I see a lot of the healthier aspects winning out. I'm not sure GoRuck, FS and anomaly after parties cancel out the name calling, angst and anger that can come from our past time.

I've had long standing resentment to the local ENL but I've taken the time to make a new friend and I tried listening to him rather than tell him all about his teammates. I let him tell me about mine. And now this...

I'm available to anyone who wants to meet up at a local establishment and actually talk about making a healthy community. I don't see myself playing much so I'll have at least some time for this endeavor. I only want to look for positive ways to improve discourse. It's quite possible no one will get at me and that's ok too. Have fun out there agents #Ingress
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Regarding the recent RIOT/Broker's Guild uproar:

One of the most interesting aspects of Ingress for me has always been its community. With a staff that was often quiet in the face of issues, and an unclear TOS, players often took things into their own hands to create an environment where they felt safe and felt they had a modicum of control. Whether that meant creating IITC to make the intel map usable, or creating swag to fill the gap there (international shipping JUST became a thing, five years later), tools and resources were created by the players to fill the logical gaps within Ingress that remained.

Throughout, there also flowed a community sense of what was cheating and what was not. Players began making their own rules, whether in line with the TOS or not: Spoofing is bad, but IITC-use and draw tools isn't. Player-tracker was frowned upon, but tolerated. Apps were created to help players learn how to memorize glyphs, and apps were created to fully trace glyphs so little effort was needed for farming. Communities created things like SOP and RESWUE to assist in anomalies and big ops. Apps that tracked the players (opt-in) that had installed the apps and were participating in that operation, so it was clear who was closest to drop a link or hold a portal down for an incoming shard.

Along the road, some of the quieter-known programs like IITC were becoming more popular, and there was some push-back from Ingress purists, saying that these apps were breaking TOS. Through that, the #intelisnotacrime movement began. It became known that some Niantic staff and POCs used IITC. It also became widely known that the big operations that Niantic liked to celebrate, reshare and feature were impossible without the tools that were against their TOS. Niantic knew this. Nothing was said, and nothing was done. Certain staff mentioned a few times to players in confidence that unless it's really pounding the servers, Niantic didn't care, but officially wouldn't give their consent.

Data scraping happens, by both factions. It's been a fact in this game for years now, even if different sides misrepresent this fact. If you've ever asked your anomaly Operator when a portal was last flipped, or reshared a giga-field post, you are benefiting from scraped intel. The darker side of data scraping is, of course, guardian hunting -- a sometimes malicious form of PvP that a lot of agents enjoy. I personally hate scraped hunting and have been quite outspoken about it, but I try to understand why when people that I respect partake in this. I will not partake in it myself, however, and that is my line I have drawn in the sand.

I also draw a line at mule accounts, gear buying, and spoofing. As do most of the Ingress community.

This community has chosen to accept certain actions, and deny certain actions, based on the progression of Ingress, the circumstances we work under, and social pressures. Our morality has become fluid, and it's difficult to find anyone who works 100% on the 'white' side of pure Ingress. Someone who chooses to not benefit from TOS violations, whether directly or indirectly.

The Ingress community also values intelligence, and those who can make things work. It values the 'secret agent' intel game, decoding, breaking things down to see how they work, disassembling the apk to unlock its secrets, creating new and innovative ways to win anomalies with new apps and ways to beat the system. It's part of what is glorious and so exciting about this game.

What's also become exciting for some in an antagonistic culture is counter intel, finding out what the other side is doing 'wrong' or 'illegally', even when their own house isn't clean, and making sure the entire world knows about it. Crying foul and pointing fingers. I find this part a bit sad, as it doesn't rise us up as a community, but tears us down.. but sometimes it's too good to see the faults of your opponents and bring them to their knees, isn't it? Expose them for the 'cheaters' you have always known they were, deep down? Human nature, raging through the best of our intentions.

The truth is, people use data scrapers for different reasons. Some, truly, are using it to catch spoofer actions that could not be caught without it. That doesn't mean that they don't know they're dabbling in the 'dark arts'. White hats will always have that moral struggle. And some will use these tools and information for more personal grudges, and the joy of griefing those who hold guardian portals. You don't have to agree with any of it -- nor do you have to immediately report those who use data scraping intel in order to be a clean player yourself.

The thing is, Niantic knows who the Vanguards are. They know what it takes to be deep enough to be on the pulse of the community and know what's happening in Ingress. They know that to be that committed, they are using tools that break TOS, whether good-intentioned or not. And where there are positions seen as a privilege or power like the Vanguards (whether that 'power' exists or is just perceived), there will always be those seeking to tear those people down.

If you've been struggling with the recent accusations being thrown around, I hope you will take these words into consideration. I hope you will treat those who have been judged so harshly with grace and try to understand them, instead of tearing them down further.

TL;DR: Matthew 7:12 - So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.
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My experience of #Ingress is informed by my experience as a gamer.

I've been playing factional multiplayer strategic video games since text MUDs were a thing. I'm a strategist, primarily motivated to move large groups of people. I'm an operator and an organizer at heart. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a bunch of nerds do something awesome. Bonus points if I helped drive that. Double bonus points if they thought it was impossible beforehand.

Groups I organize achieve these things via simple methods. We talk to each other. We plan comprehensively. We work hard. We use simple, admissible tools. We have a good time and we do cool shit. Everyone plays their part, we high-five, we go home and pet our cats, we plan for the next one.

Both Ingress factions have far less acceptable tools that wreck this simple, comfortable dynamic:

- On the ENL side, there's, and cactus, and poptart. I don't know much about these things. Factionally, I'm not a cool kid. People know I'm awkward and moralistic. They don't invite me to controversial stuff. That's fine. If I knew more about them, I'd just blow them open. Everyone knows this.

- On the RES side, there's RIOT. There's been a lot of talk about this lately. If you're reading this, you probably don't need the hyperlink. It's gross, 'nuff said.

All of these tools and their inevitable analogs are fucking terrible. People using them need to stop doing that, delete their associated accounts, and apologize to their friends.

Stop. Cheating.

Ingress is a beautiful game, full of rich experiences and fascinating emergent gameplay opportunities. Let's stop screwing it up.

I love you nerds. We can do this.
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