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EA's Origin Sends Personal Data to Third Parties

By - Source: Reddit | B 17 comments
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Part of Origin's EULA allows Electronic Arts to snoop through your system -- including installed and uninstalled software -- and send that information to third-party service providers.

Honestly EA, what are you up to now? The gaming publisher is currently under fire by outraged consumers after a close examination of the End User License Agreement for Origin reveals that it grants EA the right to snoop through desktops and laptops once the user agrees to the terms. If that wasn't invasive enough, the agreement also allows EA to share all that information to third party service providers.

"You agree that EA may collect, use, store and transmit technical and related information that identifies your computer (including the Internet Protocol Address), operating system, Application usage (including but not limited to successful installation and/or removal), software, software usage and peripheral hardware, that may be gathered periodically to facilitate the provision of software updates, dynamically served content, product support and other services to you, including online services," the agreement reads. "EA may also use this information combined with personal information for marketing purposes and to improve our products and services. We may also share that data with our third party service providers in a form that does not personally identify you. IF YOU DO NOT WANT EA TO COLLECT, USE, STORE, TRANSMIT OR DISPLAY THE DATA DESCRIBED IN THIS SECTION, PLEASE DO NOT INSTALL OR USE THE APPLICATION."

Now here’s the kicker: if EA customers don't agree to the company's snooping and sharing of private data to third parties, then they won't have access to exclusive PC games like Battlefield 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic. The Origin agreement also doesn't allow the user to opt out at any time after the initial acceptance, meaning that they either must choose to share their personal information indefinitely, or not play EA's exclusive PC games at all.

Reddit is currently rallying EA gamers to contact the company by email or snail mail to protest against the invasion of privacy. According to EA's privacy policy instructions, consumers can first try to settle the matter with the company directly using the contact info at http://www.ea.com/1/privacy-contacts. Consumers can also drop an email to the relevant statutory privacy body or advocacy group, presumably the Electronic Frontier Foundation which typically stands up for gamer privacy rights.

Then again, Origin's invasive nature may have been one of the reasons why EA chose to launch its own client in the first place: to see who is pirating EA games... if it indeed scans all installed and uninstalled software on a system, that is.

So far EA hasn't publicly responded to the complaints.

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  • 1 Hide
    mactronix , 25 August 2011 16:19
    If as you seem to suggest this might be a way of checking who is using what in a view to checking for piracy then this is
    A. stupid as it will only catch those who Try and Buy. Because hard line Pirates wont be buying from the online store now will they ?
    B. No different to what others (M$ i'm looking at you)try to do if you don't know and unwittingly let them.

    Well done Toms for flagging this issue.

    Mactronix
  • 2 Hide
    chronicbint , 25 August 2011 16:24
    Chalk up yet another reason to boycott EA, coupled with the extortionate price of digital downloads(costing more than physical copies), adding one use codes to games trying to fleece the second hand market, DLC that should have been included in the game anyway.

    This will encourage more piracy.
  • 0 Hide
    Richard226 , 25 August 2011 16:25
    Nice article, biggest perpetuated lie in the world.... tick to say you have read the terms and conditions.
  • Display all 17 comments.
  • 4 Hide
    Riv4L , 25 August 2011 16:33
    I think now we are closer to really understanding why EA pulled out of Steam on these games. Steam wouldn't let them snoop around and take private data.
  • 2 Hide
    ps3hacker12 , 25 August 2011 16:40
    congrats EA looks like another hard quarter for you is coming up...
  • 2 Hide
    Captainhero , 25 August 2011 16:48
    Always read the terms and conditions. Human Cent-ipad anyone?
    To be honest this has annoyed me greatly, Im dying for BF3 and Old Republic, but now ea will tell other companies how often i visit lemonparty :( 
  • 0 Hide
    mactronix , 25 August 2011 16:59
    Yea well i had a downer on EA anyway but now they can go and jump.

    Mactronix
  • 2 Hide
    roots , 25 August 2011 17:57
    Ive emaield EA, will do the same to EFF.
  • 1 Hide
    tim-diesel , 25 August 2011 18:56
    i have just emailed EA uk and told them in no cirtain terms will i or my entire clan of wow friends be migrating to starwars unless this is sorted. thats 57 games and 57 monthly subs they will loose. i will not let a 3rd party snoop about my belongings.
  • 2 Hide
    mactronix , 25 August 2011 19:41
    To be honest i think we need to do more. There needs to be some sort of mass petition or something to try and make it illegal for anyone for any reason to access and details of anyone's system unless specifically requested by the owner of said PC system. That would then enable remote access to proceed unhindered.

    Trouble is i wouldn't know where to start



  • 0 Hide
    klawz , 25 August 2011 20:23
    Don't Valve have exactly the same provision in their EULA as relates to Steam?

    "By using Valve's online sites and products, users agree that Valve may collect aggregate information, individual information, and personally identifiable information, as defined below. Valve may share aggregate information and individual information with other parties. Valve shall not share personally identifiable information with other parties, except as described in the policy below."
  • 2 Hide
    mactronix , 25 August 2011 20:36
    No its different because the EA one inst specific to its own usage like valves. The EA one says it can scan the whole drive and sell what information it may find to who it likes.
    See here http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/08/24/eas-origin-eula-proves-even-more-sinister/
  • 0 Hide
    mactronix , 25 August 2011 20:37
    No its different see here http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/08/24/eas-origin-eula-proves-even-more-sinister/
  • -1 Hide
    tal-n , 25 August 2011 22:49
    Get your facts right. The Old Republic is only limited to Origin as direct download. Boxed copies are available through stores as normal and you do NOT need to install Origin in order to play TOR or recieve updates for it. This kind of fearmongering is totally unprofessional.

    As for this app being invasive I have to disagree. Technical specifications and software you have installed is hardly private and personal. As for sharing that information with 3rd parties, it says you are anonamous. This is no more invasive than website cookies.
  • 0 Hide
    Richard226 , 25 August 2011 23:22
    The main bit i don't like is it taking my IP address considering im on a fixed line, everything else im cool with
  • 1 Hide
    flaminggerbil , 25 August 2011 23:44
    Well I was excited by BF3 up until this point, if I'm forced to use Origin with this bullshit agreement behind it then fuck that. I'll just wait for MW3 and buy into the gaming industries other prime evil.
    At least they dont steal my data though.
  • 0 Hide
    Richard226 , 25 August 2011 23:56
    make sure you read the fine print, lol