EA's Origin Sends Personal Data to Third Parties

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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  • mactronix
    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.

  • chronicbint
    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.
  • Richard226
    Nice article, biggest perpetuated lie in the world.... tick to say you have read the terms and conditions.