Niantic puts a stop to Ingress’ scraping network: The Brokers Guild downfall

Players find a way to get new Pokéstops
Players find a way to get new Pokéstops

In the recent months, the Ingress community discovered a number of scraping services that aggregated data from the game in order to provide users with unfair advantage over other players. This set of services and tools was called The Brokers Guild before it was exposed by an avid Ingress player.

Today, at 02:36 AM CET, Ingress officials posted a lengthy writeup on Google+, detailing their future actions towards anyone connected to these incidents.

According to the Google+ post, Niantic has managed to identify users, administrators and creators of the scraping tools and is now ready to enforce the game’s Terms of Service.

As a result, they are taking the following actions against those individuals:

  • Terminating the accounts and revoking access to Ingress for the creators, administrators, and financiers of scraping tools storing or serving identifiable information of Ingress users without those users’ permission.
  • Banning the accounts of players using these scraping tools who have also received prior warnings or have documented TOS violations.
  • Temporarily suspending (for 30 days) the accounts of players using these tools, followed by 180 days of account probation.

The Brokers Guild explained

A screenshot of the RIOT database GUI, image credits: Inside the Brokers Guild

Although it may sound simple, Brokers Guild, the scraping network mentioned above, is not a simple thing to wrap your head around. It’s a large web system based around several components:

  • RIOT database – a sophisticated database containing all historic data for tracked data, agents, patterns, etc
  • RADAR – enables automatic alerts over a geographic area, sending alerts to the user if a particular event happens. For example, it could alert you when an portal link is thrown over 20 km in the observed area
  • Omnivore, bots, alerts  a ton of smaller subsystems that can talk with Slack, Telegram, Hangouts and that allow for rich interaction, for example querying player name, controlled portals, etc…

The data collected by the Brokers Guild included player movement, gaming patterns, route profiling, etc.., while the services included real time proximity alerts, scanners and more. The whole toolset can be analysed on the “Inside The Brokers Guild” website.

We strongly advise our readers to watch the following video by Agent Academy in order to get a better understanding of the Brokers Guild: