E3 organization leaks data for over 2,000 journalists and analysts

E3 2020 won't have Doom, but it may have your doom.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

If you attended the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) trade show this year with a media badge, it’s possible that some of your sensitive data is now public. Each year, the Entertainment Software Association hands out hundreds of “press badges” to certain members of the press. To get one of these badges, I have given the organization my name, phone number, home address, and more each year for the last half-decade. That info goes onto a spreadsheet that the ESA hands out to its member companies. This makes it easier for those companies to invite press to E3 events and meetings.

Up until yesterday, however, that list was accessible to anyone who clicked on a button on the ESA website, as first spotted by YouTube creator Sophia Narwitz. Since then, The ESA has removed the spreadsheet from its site. But it did not do that before other people were able to download it. At this point, it’s impossible to tell who has the list.

This failure to adequately secure sensitive data doesn’t just expose games journalists. I’ve confirmed with someone who has access to the list (with the ESA’s permission) that it contains info for YouTube creators, Wall Street financial analysts at firms like Wedbush and Goldman Sachs, and Tencent employees.

The ESA’s reaction to the E3 data leak