Potential misinterpretation of drone hack data potentially leading to false bans
Me and several other agents have done an investigation over the last few months and we believe that the location data of drone hacks is not being logged correctly and/or is being misinterpreted.
We have contacted Niantic Support directly for this matter, in an attempt to privately resolve this, but unfortunately according to them, “Sadly, we will not be able to make any immediate changes but for sure I will share these inputs with our development team and work towards improving the Ingress Scanner technology, perpetually.” Therefore, me and this group of agents believe it is in every agent’s interest that the results of our investigation are public, such that they can take appropriate precautions to avoid their account getting banned.
We asked 5 agents who were recently banned about their drone location before they were banned, and for all 5 we saw that the drone was recently hundreds or thousands of kilometers away from where they hacked with it.
So what we believe happened in all 5 scenarios was: They went somewhere, parked their drone there, then went away really far, hacked with the drone, and then got banned not too long after.
Furthermore, we looked at the GDPR package from one of the agents, and we found the logging of the location of drone hacks to be very confusing. It seems like there is no difference between a normal hack and a drone hack. If a drone hack is very far away, it will appear in the logs like a normal hack. We believe Niantic may be misinterpreting this data, which is leading to false bans.
With this happening to 5 agents, I don’t really trust that this is a coincidence and I would like to ask Niantic to investigate its logging on drone hack locations, and also to verify with support how they interpret drone hack locations when doing ban appeals. Based on the results of our investigation, it looks like something is off with this. In an ideal scenario, Niantic would give a public statement that it has investigated this scenario and what the conclusions of that investigation are.
In the meantime: I would personally recommend agents not to drone hack to avoid getting banned, until there is a response from Niantic.
Agent names and GDPR data is available from several agents, but I’ll not post them here to protect the privacy of these agents and to respect the forum rules.
EDIT: Please respect the forum rules and do not post anything related to bans to prevent this topic from being closed for that reason, thank you in advance!