Bethesda.net Account Settings Suggest Data Protection Foul Play

If you’ve been playing Fallout 76 or plan to pick up Rage 2 on PC, then you’ll be having to do so through Bethesda.net – something that Bethesda seems to be capitalizing on. Reports have surfaced that suggest Bethesda.net account settings conflict with the recent data protection laws from the European Union. Bethesda has yet to comment on the matter but could face a fine up to €20 million if they were to be found in breach of GDPR laws.

The issue was raised on Reddit and the whole issue surrounds Bethesda’s relationship with ZeniMax – who own Bethesda – and the automatic settings for players with Bethesda.net accounts. As it stands, when you create a new account, a box asking if you’d “like to see more relevant ZeniMax ads on other sites by sharing my email address” is already ticked.

Under the new EU regulations, which affect all businesses in the EU and those that work within its territories (which includes Bethesda) – these options should be set switched off until a user chooses to switch them on.

Steam’s account settings are an example of how this is supposed to work. All profiles new or old – relative to GDPR rules coming into effect – are set to private, with users being able to “opt-in” to allow Valve to share their data with third parties. Bethesda doesn’t do this, instead, it limits the ads you’ll see to “ZeniMax ads” but doesn’t explain where your data will be shared with.

Users are able to opt-out of these settings, though you’ll have to answer a security question which only adds your request to a queue. To be fair, Bethesda sorts out these requests pretty quickly – I was able to change my settings and get confirmation of the changes within a few minutes. But the issue is that Bethesda – a global enterprise that most likely has a pretty competant legal division – is treading the line of its data protection scheme. And if they were to be found in breach of the GDPR rules, they’d potentially face a fine of €20 million if found to be breaching laws before being revisited periodically to ensure they were following the rules. Those could be some costly ZeniMax adverts.