EA’s Origin EULA Proves Even More Sinister

By John Walker on August 24th, 2011 at 2:11 pm.

Why so sinister, EA?

As spotted by the canny denizens of the Escapist forum, there is a quite extraordinary clause in the EULA of EA’s new game service, Origin. One that may well make you think twice about letting the software on your PC. Under the title of “Consent to Collection and Use of Data”, the clause states that by installing Origin you are giving EA permission to “collect, use, store and transmit technical and related information that identifies your computer, operating system, Application usage (including but not limited to successful installation and/or removal), software, software usage and peripheral hardware.”

Which is to say, if you want to play Battlefield 3, or any other game that will require Origin to run, you’re going to have to agree to that.

The full clause reads,

2. Consent to Collection and Use of Data.

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. 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. This and all other data provided to EA and/or collected by EA in connection with your installation and use of this Application is collected, used, stored and transmitted in accordance with EA’s Privacy Policy located at www.ea.com. To the extent that anything in this section conflicts with the terms of EA’s Privacy Policy, the terms of the Privacy Policy shall control.

It’s not unusual for such software to collect information from your computer relating to itself, and it’s not unknown that using that software means you agree to this information being distributed anonymously to third parties. Steam, for instance, warns that it will,

“store information on a user’s hard drive that is used in conjunction with online play of Valve products. This includes a unique authorization key or CD-Key that is either entered by the user or downloaded automatically during product registration. This authorization key is used to identify a user as valid and allow access to Valve’s products. Information regarding Steam billing, your Steam account, your Internet connection and the Valve software installed on your computer are uploaded to the server in connection with your use of Steam and Valve software.”

But there’s a significant difference. Valve’s policy is self-restricted to anything on your PC directly relating to its own products. EA’s is so broad that it gives the publisher permission to scan your entire hard drive, and report back absolutely anything you may have installed, and indeed when you may use it, and then pass that information on the third parties.

Now, they may well mean for this clause to provide them the same opportunities as Valve’s and others’, intending only to allow information about the use of Origin, and Origin-run software, to be fed back to their sinister super-computers. It could simply be in place to provide a better service for Origin customers. But crucially, that’s absolutely not what you’re agreeing to when you absently click “Agree” during the install. What you’re agreeing to is for EA to have a free pass to scan your PC and gather absolutely anything it wants.

And then even more creepily, they say they intend to take such information, combine it with personal information about you, and use it to advertise directly to you. However, when selling on this free-for-all on your computer’s contents, they’ll at least remove personally identifying information. Gosh, thanks.

It strikes us as beyond acceptable. And so much more serious now that EA has made its intentions clear to make so many of their games exclusively delivered through Origin. Were there a choice about what you’d use to play Battlefield 3, Mass Effect 3, etc, then gamers could opt out of allowing Origin on their systems while such a policy is in place. But instead it’s a case of agree to such remarkable terms, or don’t play their games at all.

We’ve contacted EA to ask if they understand gamers’ shock at this policy, and to find out if there is any chance of its being revoked, or heavily re-worded. This isn’t an issue over publishers having their own distribution services, and Origin works fine for me. But when you’re asked to give up such fundamental personal information to be able to use it, and when it’s the only option to play games, this becomes an extremely serious matter.

This is of course the second time the wording of Origin’s EULA has caused concern, with previous worries that they were reserving the right to delete accounts after two years of inactivity, which they’ve since put at rest. We’ll let you know as soon as we hear anything back from EA.

Edit: Some have pointed out that similar clauses have been in previous EA EULAs. Two things: Firstly, often it was optional whether you played those games online, and as such sent such data. Secondly, that doesn’t make it okay! It’s still an enormous violation of privacy that deserves being addressed.

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360 Comments »

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  1. Unaco says:

    It’s been in EA’s EULA’s for 7 or so years. Why start crying foul now?

    Total overreaction in my opinion. Just because a company CAN do something, does not mean they WILL do it. They’d be crazy to, what with the internet these days. It’s just legalese to cover their arses… any information gathered will be legit (what EA games you have, what versions, hardware specs, what DLC, what patches are needed), and the overreach in the EULA is just to protect them if something happens in the future.

    • John Walker says:

      Because Origin is brand new, and is required to run many of their forthcoming games. Seem like a good enough reason?

    • d3vilsadvocate says:

      I’m grateful for this. RPS is a great games news blog.

      Never used EA Downloaders before, so I don’t know about this. And I never WILL use them either.

      And btw, Origin is supposed to run in the background all the time unlike previous EA downloader.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Specifically, older EA EULA variants of this clause refer to “if” you authenticate online, which you weren’t always required to do.

      @Unaco: Yes, poor giant corporations. They do so need protecting.

    • Ricc says:

      Shock is actually the right word for it. This is unacceptable. I’m thankful for your coverage and I think it does make a difference for some people.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      I always find apologists like Unaco very strange, why on earth should we give EA the right to scan our hard drives and hope really hard they wont do so rather than just not let them scan our HDDs, something they have absolutely no good reason to do?

    • Unaco says:

      “Because Origin is brand new, and is required to run many of their forthcoming games.” So is accepting the EULA, which for EA games has had something akin to this for many, many years.

      Even if EA weren’t pushing Origin, you would still be agreeing to this in all those EA games you installed though. Origin isn’t really relevant, except as a focal point for people to hate on. The games that you’ll be playing on/through Origin, would have this in their EULA’s anyway, and you’d be agreeing to it, with or without Origin.

    • Jacques says:

      I’m with Unaco on this one.

      Just because they can, doesn’t mean they will.

      Fact of the matter is, being able to gather data about your customers is massively useful, for any company. Be they a games company, a supermarket or whatever.

      RPS runs Google Analytics, alongside hundreds of thousands of other websites. Do I stop visiting this site simply because they track my browsing habits? Nope.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      @Unaco

      >”The games that you’ll be playing on/through Origin, would have this in their EULA’s anyway, and you’d be agreeing to it, with or without Origin.”

      All right, show me some games that have that in their EULAs then? Besides, when did two wrongs make a right?

      @Jaques

      “I’m ok with the government or corporations giving themselves the right to violate my privacy, because they *might* choose not to do it” is an odd argument, in my opinion.

    • Unaco says:

      @Jim…

      Where have I said that Giant Corporations need protecting? Where? Please don’t misrepresent what I’ve said. I have not said that they need protection… just that this is something of an overreaction. It’s a sinister thing in a EULA. 90% of all EULA’s are sinister, creepy stuff… but they’ve NEVER truly been used to defend/justify/allow all this sinister creepy stuff. The STEAM EULA is full of similar stuff… will you run an article on that?

      @ReV_VAdAUL

      I am not an apologist. I probably won’t be touching Origin… but not for anything to do with the EULA. I just don’t think EA/Origin should be singled out here…. when we’ve been happily agreeing to EULA’s like this for years, when it’s completely improbable that they’ll use this for sinister ends, when it’s just lawyers covering their arses.

      And as for why you’d want them to scan… Lots of legitimate reasons, which is what they’ll be using it for. Knowing what version of a game you have installed, so it can be patched. Taking your ME2 saves, to import them into ME3. Looking at Hardware Specs, so they know what specs to target future games to.

    • John Walker says:

      @Jaques ignoring the peculiarity of your willingness to give up privacy because someone might not violate it, how does our collecting anonymous data about the visits to our site in any way compare to scanning someone’s hard drive and collecting data on the software installed and used?

    • Premium User Badge

      Jerricho says:

      @Jaques
      That’s spurious in the extreme. Google Analytics on RPS monitors visits from your IP address to RPS. It doesn’t ask where else you’ve been over the last week or whatever else you have installed on your machine along with what perpherals.

    • qrter says:

      “Fact of the matter is, being able to gather data about your customers is massively useful, for any company. Be they a games company, a supermarket or whatever.

      I’m sure that’s true, but that doesn’t mean customers should readily participate in it..?

    • John Walker says:

      @Unaco – email us details of similarly creepy things in the Steam EULA and we’ll absolutely see if they merit a story.

    • Eclipse says:

      “Just because a company CAN do something, does not mean they WILL do it. ”

      If they can, you need to think they will.
      Will you sign something that says “and by signing this you also give us permission to assrape you every time we want” thinking “oh well, they CAN do it but maybe they’ll not, let’s sign”.

    • briktal says:

      Isn’t that stuff included in the article about Valve’s privacy policy from the section about information they may store on your computer (cookies, CD keys and autogenerated bug reports) and not information they may collect from your computer (pretty much anything they want)?

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      PoulWrist says:

      Well, steam doesn’t have an optout of the scan it does of your hardware and software. Something might pop up when it does it, but it’s widely known among interface designers that people in general don’t read what it says on the popup, they just click “yes”.
      Steam hides all information about this in a document under “privacy policy”, a document only available in a foreign language if you’re not a native english speaker. Indeed, none of the headlines here are about this. So, steam takes stuff like this, and where does it put it? Does it sell it to those who publish through it? I mean, great service to provide to your customers, no? “Hey, you can publish here through us, we even give you lists of what hardware users have that you can expect to reach and what software configurations are available, so you can keep in mind that 90% of the user base have outdated drivers”

      And that’s the kind of thing EA will want to do no doubt. Not sell horrible information to sinister corporations about the interactive hentai novels you have installed so you start seeing that kind of ad on facebook in the future.

    • Tams80 says:

      @ Unaco

      I don’t see why their EULA has to cover all software. Even just adding “…relating to any EA games” (note: not products) would be better. There is no need to allow them to access information on all the software on the harddrive, as most of it has diddly swat to do with allowing their products to run (aside from conflicts). Even if they probably won’t scan further than required; it is a moral issue over whether they should be allowed to.

    • Premium User Badge

      PoulWrist says:

      That’s there so they can scan for drivers, hardware configurations, directx versions, framework versions, and various other things like that.

    • Jacques says:

      @John
      Because you’re using tracking user behaviour for the purpose of making money, which is what EA are clearly seeking to do with that statement in the EULA. You do also realise that GA gives you the capability of seeing what software people are using to browse your site, including their browser, browser version, operating system, etc?

      Is your problem with the Origin EULA one of a lack of anonymity in the tracking process?

      @Jerricho
      Actually, it does track where you’ve been, if you’ve come from a link on another site, it’ll track that, it’ll track what search term you used to find the site, and where that search term led you. It’ll also track where you are in the world, what software you’re using and plenty of other things.
      That’s just GA, you can be sure both Adwords and whatever ad system Eurogamer provide are also tracking user interactions, amongst other things.

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      Crimsoneer says:

      Relevant question: WHAT ARE YOU ACTUALLY WORRIED ABOUT?

      Somebody has suggested they could read your copyrighted material…unless it uploads your ENTIRE DOCUMENTS FOLDER, I don’t see how that’s relevant. All they’re going to have is, in effect:
      User24565343 has process x and y, installed app Z on 23/3/23

      How is this of any importance to you? Why does it actually matter? It will mean you’ll no longer get tampon adverts, but is that such a sin?

      Concretely, what are you actually worried about.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Having agreed to EULA’s in the past that made similiar statements doesn’t make it any better. We should speak up whenever a company tries to appropriate our personal information.

      PetiteGreve made a great post in the Red Orchestra comments that addresses why we should be concerned about our privacy and also how Steam’s information gathering is Opt-In only.

      I’ll just paste it here:

      1) “I wouldn’t even touch origin with a laser pointed taped to a stick from the moon. It tracks all your installed programs and webpages you visit, supposed to be legal because EULA.”

      That’s terrible. They’re going to find out that I own a bunch of video games, and that I frequently look at gaming related sites.

      => I recommend reading ” ‘I’ve Got Nothing to Hide’ and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy ” by Daniel J. Solove ( http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=998565 ).

      The question of privacy is NOT about guiltiness (only), it’s much more than that (freedom of speech/conscience, being yourself, how we live in a society together and so on), you can’t reduce it to “NOT PUBLIC = GUILTY”, nothing is that simple.

      2) “Steam harvests the same information and your computer’s specs to boot. I’m not sure what their EULA says about selling information though.

      And that is bad. Just not “boycott Origin only” bad.”

      WRONG, I actually debated with several Steam staff (and people who worked with Steam staff) regarding privacy and the risk regarding Steam controlling our gaming life.

      Basically, they agreed it could be done (they have the technical skills and capacity, like thousands of other IT-related companies), however it would be against how they deal with their users, it wouldn’t fit at all with their business model (selling such informations to third parties is not what they want and know how to do) and they know they’re being watched closely, they know that such terrible mistake (breaching users’ privacy) would mean the end of Steam.

      How it works :

      a) Steam randomly pick Steam users for the hardware/software survey (= not all users are concerned).
      In my case, I was picked when I had my x1950XT graphic card rig, not when I had my Geforce3 or my Geforce 460GTX.

      b) The users have to accept (by spending several seconds in the survey menus, “Accept”, “Next”…) to let Steam “scan” (it doesn’t actually scan at all, see point c) for details) the hardware and software configuration.
      => You can refuse (and many people refuse) that survey, it then simply randomly pick another Steam user (so they can have stats on their userbase : how many casual ? how many have a good GPU ? etc – “know your audience”)

      c) Steam “scans” the computer – in fact, he just look for a specific regedit folder, one for the hardware, one for the software (available to any program installed on your computer) – in the past it looked for 2 (or 3) different folders for the software list, now it’s much more simple and less invasive. It doesn’t list all your software nor scan for files (it would takes hours !), it’s only looking at a list made by the OS (= Windows/Mac OS, Linux is not supported now).

      d) Steam shows (it is actually displayed !) the result of the “scan” to the user. He/She can still refuse to send the survey (if something is wrong or if he/she no longer want to take part in the survey).

      e) If the user accepted the Steam “scan” AND accepted to send the informations gathered, the Steam servers can receive the information.

      Also :

      * Steam doesn’t link the software/hardware survey results to the Steam account.

      * Steam doesn’t check the software/hardware survey results at each boot or at anytime (exception : if you’re randomly picked again). It is a complete hoax.

      * Steam doesn’t sell the software/hardware survey results to third parties.

      * Steam software/hardware survey results are displayed publicly, available to anyone at this page : http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey

      Before accusing, do your homework please :)

      (ps : I am a Steam user concerned about privacy. If we want to defend it well, we need to be correctly informed and not just throwing “Big Brother is everywhere!” all the time)

    • SaVi says:

      So what if this was in the EULA for 7 years?
      Then let’s clean up with these things in one fellow swoop. The conscience about privacy has changed, and central points like RPS and the Escapist write about these things. Call us hypocrites all you want, better then being stuck in place just keep a bit of ego.
      I Also don’t think they need to know what’s written on the entire harddrive. What they do should be opt in, with showing me what data they collected before sending it out. Let me point you to Microsofts Security Essentials Microsoft SpyNet.

    • Unaco says:

      @Snargelfargen…

      “WRONG, I actually debated with several Steam staff (and people who worked with Steam staff) regarding privacy and the risk regarding Steam controlling our gaming life.

      Basically, they agreed it could be done (they have the technical skills and capacity, like thousands of other IT-related companies), however it would be against how they deal with their users, it wouldn’t fit at all with their business model (selling such informations to third parties is not what they want and know how to do) and they know they’re being watched closely, they know that such terrible mistake (breaching users’ privacy) would mean the end of Steam.”

      STEAM DO sell information to 3rd parties. And wouldn’t this ALSO be against how EA/Origin want to deal with their users? Would it not be against EA’s business model as well? Would they not realise that such a terrible mistake would mean the end of Origin?

    • ScubaMonster says:

      @Unaco: “Even if EA weren’t pushing Origin, you would still be agreeing to this in all those EA games you installed though.”

      Uh. Since when do games scan your hard drive for all of your personal info and send it back to EA?

    • Premium User Badge

      Jerricho says:

      @ Jaques
      *sigh* Yes, thank you for proving my point. “Google Analytics on RPS monitors visits from your IP address to RPS.”
      It does not ask for any information that does not directly relate to that, i.e. where you’ve been visiting for the last week, as I said.

    • Unaco says:

      @ScubaMonster
      “Uh. Since when do games scan your hard drive for all of your personal info and send it back to EA?”

      Games don’t, usually. But there’s no real difference between a_game.exe and the Origin.exe
      If it could be done with the Origin/Steam executables, it could be done with a games executable.

    • cavalier says:

      @Snargelfargen

      taken from Steams privacy policy

      “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.

      “Aggregate information” is information that describes the habits, usage patterns, and demographics of users as a group but does not describe or reveal the identity of any particular user.

      “Individual information” is information about a user that is presented in a form distinguishable from information relating to other users but not in a form that personally identifies any user or enables the recipient to communicate directly with any user unless agreed to by the user in advance of such communication. This information may be used to improve Valve’s products and online sites, for internal marketing studies, or simply to collect demographic information about Valve’s users.”

      http://www.valvesoftware.com/privacy.html

      That doesn’t seem to jive with what random poster from some other board you copy and pasted from, or it seems what he was talking about is in regard to the surveys only.

      How is this different than EA privacy policy?

    • MrMud says:

      @Jacques
      I can easily block google analytics with noscript. I cant do that with origin.

    • Jacques says:

      @Jerricho
      Well yeah, it does do exactly that. Sure RPS don’t have access to that information, but Google do.

      @MrMud
      And if you’re tech savvy enough to use noscript, you’re tech savvy enough to use a firewall.

    • Premium User Badge

      Jerricho says:

      @Jacques

      And if we follow this up the chain, your ISP know everything that you do online, ceiling cat knows everything else. But even still, neither your ISP or google know what else you have installed on your system. If you don’t want Google to know what else you do then stop using their search engine, or gmail or youtube.

      Also, being savvy enough to use a firewall isn’t going to prevent Origin from upload stats from your system unless you prevent Origin from workin in its entirety; in which case congratulations, you’ve found the Opt Out.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I’m an EA shareholder, and I own enough shares that I’m sent an annual shareholders statement. I can quite categorically state that EA earn revenue from distribution of personal information collected by their software.

      “Just because they can does not necessarily mean they will”

      That statement is rubbish. If they could earn money but choose not too, people like me (But without my ethics) who own shares in the company would kick up a stink.

      EA already sell information they gather from their customers computers and I would be shocked if any company which has shareholders does not.

    • Milky1985 says:

      “RPS runs Google Analytics, alongside hundreds of thousands of other websites. Do I stop visiting this site simply because they track my browsing habits? Nope”

      This is an incorrect analogy, Origin is saying if you use this product YOU MUST let us hravest the data.

      RPG may use google analytics but they do not block access to the site if you block the google cookie or run noscript (theres also the whole clear the cookie and it resets thing, unless google are linking IPs in the back end system, which they blatently are :P ).

      Yes its info gathered, but its nto required to use the product, unlike origin which is “let us have it or leave”.

      Bearing in mind this is a eula you have to agree to for a game PURCHASED AT RETAIL (i.e. you can;t have read it at this point), if you got BF3 at retail you still need origin. If you don’t agree to the EULA what do you do? You ahve to request a refnud from EA/Retailer which causes issues!

    • Mist says:

      @cavalier: “Valve recognizes the importance of protecting any information collected from users and has adopted this privacy policy that guides how Valve gathers, stores, and uses information from the use of Valve products and online sites by users. ”

      All the “we can gather information XYZ” is all related to the usage of Valve products. So it gives them the right to collect stuff like where you die in single-player games. While I’m not a lawyer, the wording doesn’t seem to allow the collection of info that’s completely unrelated to Valve products (and if it does, it’s probably an oversight instead of done on purpose). The Origin policy however seems to explicitly been written to allow EA to see whatever you’re doing with your computer (and then sending you My Little Pony related ads)

    • Stradlin says:

      This article seems to have caused (shortlived) religious turmoil @ Bioware Social Network.
      http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/13/index/8189292

    • k4el says:

      It is in no way an over reaction to call this into question. The fact that they wrote their policy to be exceptionally broad then buried in the EULA instead of a proper pop notification (as with practically any other software that collects information) speaks to EA”s attitude about customer privacy. Their entitlement here is disgusting, it’s yet another reason I won’t be using Origin, even though I’ll sadly be missing out on BF3.

    • Kadayi says:

      “Valve’s policy is self-restricted to anything on your PC directly relating to its own products.”

      Really?

      http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey

      What exactly do CCleaner, WinRAR, µTorrent, etc, etc etc have to do with Valve Products? Fuck all tbh. So why are Valve scanning for them exactly? Personally I don’t mind program scans (it’s interesting to see software trends) as long as it’s not passed onto other parties in a manner that identifies me. Which judging by the Origin EULA it doesn’t.

      Like Unaco I’d say this is a non issue tbh. I know you like your righteous tirades John, but this one seems a bit reaching, and given the double standard when it comes to Steams hardware survey frankly slightly UP.

      Also EA’s privacy policy: –

      http://tos.ea.com/legalapp/WEBPRIVACY/US/en/PC/

    • Commisar says:

      I know, too dams much sensationalism over “Oh MY GOD EA COLLECTS USER DATA TO IMPROVE MARKETING.” PLease read their privacy policy that OVERRIDES THE ORIGIN EULA http://tos.ea.com/legalapp/WEBPRIVACY/US/en/PC/

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Why do you believe a companies statement of policy overrides the (dubiously) legal contract you sign with them? Their policy can change at the drop of a hat, no need to inform anyone. Its basically just a page explaining what they intend, it’s my policy to have a fry up every morning, but if I get fat, my policy will change. Now if I signed a contract with you saying I will not eat a fry up ever, surprise surprise, its the legal document which takes prescient if we ever have a dispute (say you catch me eating as fry up)

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      Devan says:

      @Commisar

      I don’t see how that privacy policy improves things. If they categorize the information as non-personal they can basically do whatever they want with it, it seems.

      For anyone who’s arguing “just because they can doesn’t mean they will”, there’s no way for us to prove whether they will do what their provisions allow them to do, but I think this line of the EULA states it pretty succinctly:
      “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.”

      I’ll take that advice.

    • nofing says:

      @Crimsoneer It doesn’t matter, that they might only use it for Ads. The problem is, what information they could get and even have the right to get, since you accepted their terms. You know, there are people who use their computers for other stuff, than games, as well. What about all the addresses, confidential work related documents, invoices, private pictures,…
      Do you really trust some company, with thousands of employees, with access to all that information?

    • Kadayi says:

      @nofing

      Read the EULA. They aren’t scanning for documents, just software & hardware. It specifically says so. They aren’t scanning your .jpg collection.

    • Ruffian says:

      I can understand they’re a company or what ever and they do need to protect their asses. but this is bs. what’s to stop them from wording it exactly the same as valves EULA then (how it should be worded)? or are we supposed to believe that the good folks at EA are illiterate or something and can’t/couldn’t have, changed it? This is a huge violation of personal privacy, I don’t care how benign people may think it seems – I mean fuck, it’s like National Amusements asking to put a camera in your room so they can determine what commercials to show you when go to the movies. it’s absurd! a bunch of rich fuckers who know they can get away with it because they know the general public is generally uneducated about the inner workings (often even the outer ones too) of their computers, to even think about reading the EULA. It’s just like all these goddamned auto mechanics who’ll charge out the ass for an oil change and never do it. It’s just sneaky. Why is there not a law that makes these companies clearly display a list of the exact software you’re installing before you install anything? (yes i do realize that most progs generally do list such things – the keyword being “clearly” i.e. derp-proof big letters or something)
      It would be nice to get some reassurance from EA or whatever, but for now, for me, EA is blacklisted. Nope. Not with a ten foot pole.

      – also, what do you mean they aren’t scanning for documents? you give someone unrestricted access to your computer and they can scan for whatever they want. do you even know how to tell if specifically if someone is/has looked at files on your pc? cause I don’t. and I’d rather not take the risk based on good faith. I’m not saying I’m like a secret agent or something, with classified docs and shit, but really if someone doesn’t draw some kinda line here how far could this shit go? You have to nip things like this in the bud and that’s a fact. The point isn’t that they would look at your personal shit, it’s that they could. And that’s enough reason for me.

    • Archonsod says:

      Funnily enough, I’m pretty sure you agreed to an almost identical clause from Microsoft if you’re running anything more recent than XP too.

    • Kadayi says:

      You know what would make this article better? Having an actual legal person go through it and explain what it all means point by point and clarify. Still I suspect that would no doubt probably take away much of the ‘Sinister’ aspect of the headline, and we wouldn’t want that now would we (page hits and all). Far better to throw it out there Fox News style with the question ‘But what does it all mean? Do you think it means Death Camps?’ and get a bunch of people all riled up through uncertainty…..

    • Milky1985 says:

      @ Kadayi

      ““Valve’s policy is self-restricted to anything on your PC directly relating to its own products.”

      Really?

      http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey

      What exactly do CCleaner, WinRAR, µTorrent, etc, etc etc have to do with Valve Products? Fuck all tbh. So why are Valve scanning for them exactly? Personally I don’t mind program scans (it’s interesting to see software trends) as long as it’s not passed onto other parties in a manner that identifies me. Which judging by the Origin EULA it doesn’t. ”

      The differece is that IT IS NOT REQUIRED TO USE THE PRODUCT.

      It also ONLY collects the extra information IF YOU OPT IN TO IT. Its an extra product, with the results publically shown but NOT LINKED TO YOU.

      Very different from what origin are trying to do which is collect everything, your not allowed to say no to this (if you do you have to take your product back for a refund), and they can keep it for themselves or send it out to select other people.

      How the hell are you not able to understand this difference?

    • Kadayi says:

      @Milky1985

      Don’t defend double standard Journalism

    • celewign says:

      The company I work for advertises “No pricing changes until 2013, guaranteed!” but in the signing contract specifically states that the company can change the price of your monthly bill at any time without notice. Do you think my company will change the price on their users? Of course not… the bad press would destroy them.

      These contracts/EULAs are designed to be as inclusive as possible. I’m all for standing on principal, but I’m not going to avoid EA Origin because of some nasty terms in their EULA, because every EULA from every company is horrifying to read in general. Let’s wait until EA has actually proven that they are maliciously distributing data before we get up in arms, because a clause in an EULA is not really a note of intent.

      Disclaimer IANAL…

    • battles_atlas says:

      @ celewign

      I just find this “give them the benefit of the doubt” argument absurd. We are talking about a legal contract. The whole point of a legal contract is to remove ambiguity from a situation. It is to clarify, and to guarantee that clarity. Furthermore, this isn’t a neighbour of ours that we’ve been friends with for years and have built up a strong personal relationship, this is corporation that exists for profit, with which no relationship does or can exist, beyond that agreed to in legal contracts.

      Simple question: would EA sign a contract that EA could only agree to if the other party did not use the powers the contract gave them?

      No, they wouldn’t.

    • Kadayi says:

      @battles_atlas

      It’s an End-User License Agreement however you agreeing to it doesn’t give EA full licence to abuse the terms of it, or necessarily would your acceptance of it act as get out of jail free card in the eyes of the law in the event that you pursued a legal case against EA for abusing it. If you’ve got privacy concerns over EULAs, your best bet is to disconnect the internet and never log on ever again, tbh. Your antivirus likely scans your files and uploads your program list to home base for starters.

    • battles_atlas says:

      @Kadayi

      “It’s an End-User License Agreement however you agreeing to it doesn’t give EA full licence to abuse the terms of it”

      That would be my point about clarity. They could take huge amounts of data from you without “abusing” the terms of the contract. It gives them that right. That’s why some people are upset.

      “If you’ve got privacy concerns over EULAs, your best bet is to disconnect the internet and never log on ever again, tbh”

      Brilliant suggestion, I’ll remove myself from the 21st century shall I? Go live in a cave in Afghanistan?

      OR, perhaps act like I’m a citizen living in a democracy, and challenge unethical invasions of my privacy by corporations. Oooo, I don’t know which to choose! Cave or citizenship?

    • Nutrion says:

      Because they learned about amoral crap NOW perhaps?!

  2. hb2008 says:

    So theoretically, EA could do a scan of everyone using Origin and report how many people use various types of piracy-related tools? Or competitors’ programs? A bit scary, even if the data is supposedly anonymized.

    • Rii says:

      Steam’s own software survey will happily tell you that 40% of users have one bittorrent client or another on their systems. But then that pirates are some of the industry’s most valuable consumers has been obvious to everyone with a brain for a long time now.

    • Cooper says:

      Yes, but Steam’s surveys are always opt-in. They ask you before they collect any data beyond data for games you have on your steam account.

      This EULA isn’t opt-in. It’s not even opt-out.

      That is the most major, fundamental difference. Data collection, of any kind, should be opt-in, at the very very least opt-out.

    • Kaira- says:

      @Cooper

      You opt-in by installing Origin. Opt-out by uninstalling.

    • Rii says:

      @Cooper

      I wasn’t complaining about Steam’s data collection policies.

    • Eclipse says:

      @Kaira- if so, I’d rather not “opt-in” at all :-)

    • Premium User Badge

      egg says:

      I don’t approve of this Origin thing. Steam at least asks me nicely when they want to know stuff (and I generally agree with it).

      But EA not only wants me to pay for their games, but also give them so much intel on me that it’s even funny. Awkward trade-off: my money + rich intel on me VS Battlefield 3. Hmm.

      Basically, I feel baited into disclosing my darkest secrets only to satisfy my lust for first person shooting pleasure. Hot damn. If only BF3 looked like shit! :(

    • edit says:

      @Rii – Torrents are fantastically useful for legitimate file distribution as well. Nothing can be assumed based on presence of a torrent client alone.

    • Kadayi says:

      @egg

      Knowing what software your using is hardly your deepest darkest secrets. I’m sure running a deep .jpeg or .avi scan would yield better results in that respect ;)

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      @ edit: Hell, Blizzard’s Battlnet downloader client is nothing more than a closed-use bittorrent client. Bittorrent is a wonderful way to transmit data without having to break the bank on hosting costs. A perfect way for indie filmmakers/game devs/musicians to get their material out there.

  3. jellydonut says:

    My EA account has also apparently been turned into an ‘Origin account’. I reset my password on the bioware forums recently and it was described as an ‘Origin ID’.

    I encourage you guys to report this whenever EA decides to wave around numbers of ‘Origin users’, and warn people to realize that most of these supposed Origin users are accounts registered over years and years of EA games and that most of them probably do not have the vile Origin software installed.

    • Rii says:

      Just remember to reserve the same scepticism for reports of Steam subscriber numbers.

    • jellydonut says:

      Except Rii, you know, people actually use Steam.

    • Rii says:

      And Steam’s success is built upon its success. And at the very bottom of that stack – the initial seed from which it all began – are those gamers who were forcibly converted to the platform to continue playing the games they’d already bought. So, much like EA, only without the friendly smile.

    • theblazeuk says:

      Well I’ve ended up with about 5 logins for EA games over the years as they merged Bioware and Battlefield community profiles together. So that’s 5 Origin users vs my one Steam account.

    • Merus says:

      What game would that be, exactly, that required existing players to move to Steam to be able to continue playing? Any Source Engine games started off on Steam, and it was clear from the beginning that Half-Life 2 required Steam to run, so it’s hardly converting old accounts, or old players to a new platform for the purposes of padding numbers. The only game I can possibly think of that moved onto Steam is The Ship.

      Counter-Strike Source, as far as I’m aware, is essentially a different game. Valve split the playerbase instead of forcing all Counter-Strike players onto Steam.

    • Eclipse says:

      @Merus: Valve used to shut down WON service, the stuff they previously used for multiplayer, and migrated all their games on steam. I’m talking about Half-Life and Counterstrike (and well, Deathmatch classic, Day of Defeat, Team Fortress Classic and so on). So to continue playing online at those games I remember you had to do a steam account. The fact that retail copies of Half-Life 2 REQUIRED “Steam online activation” was also something very new and very scary. Steam started very wrong and I remember well the outrage about it.
      That said, today steam offers a lot of great services, from it’s community to the possibility to talk to a friend that’s inside another game, or join his server in a matter of seconds, or share screenshots and so on. But I remember when all started, it was very lame

    • Rii says:

      @Eclipse

      Thanks for that post. In my case it was Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat which I would’ve been cut off from had I not downloaded Steam when Valve shut down WON to force just such a migration.

  4. skinlo says:

    Steam can collect information about all the software on your computer when asks if you want to upload your system specs to Steam during the hardware survey. However, you have the option to opt out.

    http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey

    • CMaster says:

      More to the point, don’t you have to specifically opt in to the hardware survey? Although it doesn’t make the fact that it now collect software data very obvious last time it asked me.

    • Milky1985 says:

      Thats the important thing, it asks if you want to participate with a box specifically saying “do you want to upload this information”

      It is in fact OPTIN, not OPT OUT (i.e. as it should be)

      Oddly i don’t mind the scan from steam, cause it was nice enough to ask me!

      [EDIT] Theres also the thing that they are showign the information publically for all to see, not keeping it for themselves and “specific partners” (by that i mean spammers and i’m looking at blizzard in that reguards, mysterious how i started getting wow spam after i started up my wow account again)

      This public information is actually godo and interet and have already used it once to prove a point to people I work with about screen resolutions!

    • Askeladd says:

      How can I tell they dont do it anyway?

      I can only trust. If Steam messes up and uses my data to exploit my identity I’d lose all my trust in them.
      I always have the option to stop using steam, but on second thought – too much money on that account.

    • mindlessrant says:

      “Valve’s policy is self-restricted to anything on your PC directly relating to its own products. EA’s is so broad that it gives the publisher permission to scan your entire hard drive, and report back absolutely anything you may have installed, and indeed when you may use it, and then pass that information on the third parties.”

      Please read the article. Also, you are not required to take part in any hardware surveys.

    • Premium User Badge

      Arvind says:

      If EA relent and starts showing a public page like Valve do with the Steam hardware survey, does that make it okay? Also, I know valve had a good track record etc etc, but how do we know they do not share more info with 3rd parties?

      More importantly, does this news mean I can now use the name €A, along with M$ and Va£v€?

    • qrter says:

      I think the point is, if Valve would still scan your hardware/software even if you’ve said no, and if this would come to light, you’d be able to hold Valve accountable.

      (It might not ever come to light, ofcourse, but that’s not the point.)

    • Askeladd says:

      @qrter: Yes.

      @mindlessrant: No, I’m not talking about written words, as they don’t mean anything.

    • Milky1985 says:

      “How can I tell they dont do it anyway? ”

      Theres pleanty of freeware tools (from MS no less, like FileMon i think) out there that can show you excatly what resources/files etc processes are reading from at any time if you a paranoid tin foil hat wearer.

      Go see what it does and analyse the files.

      But i will now send you into overdrive by saying “what if these free programs from MS are lying to you!”

    • Askeladd says:

      That was a rhetorical question. I wanted to raise the awareness of the people of believing that everything is fine by just saying everything is fine, also I don’t believe in the innocence of corporations, didnt you play DX?

    • pepper says:

      Milky is correct. Plenty of tools from several sources can show you what is going on with a process.

      And if Valve would do sneaky stuff, it would have come out. Plenty of people poke around in the source code of steam to see if they can find anything interesting. They would have noticed.

    • MD says:

      @ pepper: can you clarify what you mean by people ‘poking around in the source code’? Unless I’ve missed something pretty big, Steam is not open source.

    • Milky1985 says:

      “@ pepper: can you clarify what you mean by people ‘poking around in the source code’? Unless I’ve missed something pretty big, Steam is not open source.”

      You can decompile to machine code and see what its doing from there, you can also track all its calls to the kernal etc. It sounds silly but there are some very smart peple out there who will do this sort of thing (its well beyond me, not got the patience for it, did machine code once at uni, thats enough :P )

  5. db1331 says:

    Copy and paste from my forum post this morning:

    I have to wonder what some of you people are doing on your computers. If Origin was spying on me last night, they would have learned that I played BFBC2 for the first time in several months. If they were spying on me the day before that, they would have learned I enjoy playing L4D2 with friends, and that I visited gamesradar.com and RPS. The day before that, they might have caught me enjoying Just Cause 2.

    Do I think this data collection is necessary? No. Do I care? No. The people who get worked up over this are the sames ones who lose their shit every time a story surfaces about the government being able to scan license plates around their city, or track their location by their cell phone. Who fucking cares?

    • CMaster says:

      So when you get turned down for a job because they feel you spend too much time playing L4D, because EA sold the data, you’ll have no problem with it?

    • Premium User Badge

      Kreeth says:

      Oh dear. When will people stop posting the utterly idiotic “nothing to hide, nothing to fear” nonsense?

    • GenBanks says:

      ‘Who fucking cares’ isn’t really an opinion worth copying and pasting…

      I certainly don’t care that you can’t be bothered to figure out why these things might affect you.

    • KingMudkip says:

      In my case, I’m a writer, and I certainly don’t want EA snooping on my intellectual material.

    • db1331 says:

      “So when you get turned down for a job because they feel you spend too much time playing L4D, because EA sold the data, you’ll have no problem with it?”

      Isn’t that a bit farfetched? Even so, if an employer was so concerned with what I do at night in my own home, there’s no way I would work for them in the first place.

      “Oh dear. When will people stop posting the utterly idiotic “nothing to hide, nothing to fear” nonsense?”

      Seriously, what is THE worst possible thing that someone could find out about you? I bet well over half the people griping about this post every single thing they do to Facebook and Twitter every day.

    • Ovno says:

      Not even gonna bother, if you’re too stupid to realise why a surveillance society (or a surveillance game downloader) is a bad thing then I dearly hope you enjoy living in city 17…

    • Risingson says:

      People share information THEY WANT in facebook or twitter. Do you people really have no problems giving up your privacy, completely?

    • wintermute says:

      Surely benevolent corporations would never abuse their power. That’s never happened before.

    • db1331 says:

      “In my case, I’m a writer, and I certainly don’t want EA snooping on my intellectual material.”

      Wow. I wish I had the luxury of living in a fantasy land like a lot of you. Let me take this journey with you, just so we’re clear. You are worried that you are going to install Origin and download a video game. Then Origin is going to scan your hard drive and find a text you wrote. Origin will then read it and be simply unable to put it down. It will then report its findings back to its handlers at EA, who will sell it off to a publisher. Then one day a couple months down the line, you will see your book on the shelf while walking through Barnes & Noble, only instead of your name where the author should be, it simply says “O. R. Igin.” This is something you are worried about?

    • Premium User Badge

      PoulWrist says:

      So, you take the stand here. What about google logging everyone in the world’s search habits and profiting greatly from having that information? That, and all the other services you gladly use that lets all kinds of things everywhere know about where you are,who you are, and what kind of porn you like? Do you block all this too, and never use social networking of any kind, including mobile phones? Do you use payment cards or walk around with cash only?
      Somewhere, somebody’s tracking all those things you do. And most of you are happy that they do, because you asked them to.

    • diamondmx says:

      Ah, the old “If you have nothing to hide, then it’s fine” argument.
      Used by many sociopaths in the past, and sure to be used by many in the future.

      Used, infallibly, by people who have something to hide.

    • Askeladd says:

      We already have that:

      Linking your facebook account and your steam account.Those people that evaluate your performance will evaluate what they can. Dont make their job easier.

    • Stomatopodal Pride says:

      Another quite important point for perplexity would be that, not too seldomly, using (poor) data analysis to drive your decisional processes can lead not to improve the eventual product.
      A very few examples about the reasons for which this happens: overruling more sensible considerations about actual product quality in favour of a “just satisfy that 65% slice of the pie and call it a day” approach, merely drawing wrong conclusion from your data by committing a wide spectrum of ameteurish mistakes… I honestly do not trust gaming companies with this kind of work.

    • utharda says:

      Lets see. Keep in mind that I’m in America, land of the “free.”

      I don’t particularly want EA knowing about my prurient interests, interest in non baptist approved sex, nor my liberal political views. (I know that seems redundant, but still)

      I don’t want EA knowing that I’m interested in Beer. I don’t want EA knowing that I use GPGP. I don’t want EA having access to my secure work apps, or knowledge of them.

      Professionally, I am an attorney. I can’t legally install software that might compromise communications with my clients, I can’t take the risk. So no, I will not consent to this fucking contract, and nor should any attorney. Reading that language, EA can argue that you agreed to have a key logger on your machine, and they can send any file or transmission containing the word cunnilingus to sara palin. THAT’S HOW BROAD that clause is. Pretty much anyone who installs this is either ignorant, or inexcusably gullible.

      I was thinking of just boycotting ea from this point forward, despite lusting after the secret world. But instead, I may buy a commodity PC, install origin, and then sue EA as soon as it phones home, and try and kill the clause. Sigh might be good for this years pro-bono, and I am behind.

      As you can see, I’m frustrated by this. I’m frustrated by people who react to increased invasion of privacy by government, or by corporation with “who cares.” You should. We need to stand on line now, before it gets too bad.

    • 4026 says:

      Someone posted a link in an earlier discussion of this (I forget where, now, actually) to a pretty incisive paper investigating the whole “nothing to hide, nothing to fear” argument.

      It should probably be considered required reading for anyone wanting to participate in this or any other discussion about privacy.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      It’s depressing when people come out with this stuff with a straight face. It matters because privacy is good. It matters because having your personal details sold on to as many people as EA (or whoever) want ‘because we thought you might also be interested in their products’ is shit. It matters because having what you do logged all the time isn’t a pleasant feeling. In the UK we have more CCTV cameras than most other countries; US friends of mine freak out at the idea of being constantly on camera everywhere you go. Just because you’re used to being watched all the time doesn’t make it OK.

      I mean, db1331, if you really don’t care, why not post your name, address, phone number and email address here for us. Perhaps if you live near me, or someone else in this thread who also has some sense, one of us could come and stand at your window or at the bottom of your garden and watch you all evening, since it’s obviously fine for you. Or perhaps you’d just upload a copy of your registry file, so we can all have a good poke through it.

    • db1331 says:

      “Someone posted a link in an earlier discussion of this (I forget where, now, actually) to a pretty incisive paper investigating the whole “nothing to hide, nothing to fear” argument.

      It should probably be considered required reading for anyone wanting to participate in this or any other discussion about privacy.”

      I stopped reading at the, “Do you not have window curtains?” line. Not wanting to walk by a window after getting out of the shower is not the same as having surveillance cameras in public places, or cell phone tracking.

    • CMaster says:

      “Isn’t that a bit farfetched? Even so, if an employer was so concerned with what I do at night in my own home, there’s no way I would work for them in the first place.”

      Yes, it is far fetched. Merely trying to say that this leads to an awful lot of unforseen consequences. And sadly, a lot (perhaps even most) employers do care what you get up to in your “own” time. See drug testing, people being dismissed for certain political affiliations, etc.

    • db1331 says:

      “I mean, db1331, if you really don’t care, why not post your name, address, phone number and email address here for us. Perhaps if you live near me, or someone else in this thread who also has some sense, one of us could come and stand at your window or at the bottom of your garden and watch you all evening, since it’s obviously fine for you. Or perhaps you’d just upload a copy of your registry file, so we can all have a good poke through it.”

      Because I’m not stupid? Your argument doesn’t even make any sense. That’s like telling someone, “Hey, since you are OK with MMA, give me your address so I can come pin you to the ground and punch you repeatedly in the head.”

    • Askeladd says:

      Its always good to give over exaggerated examples to show your point.

      But how about this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stasi

      You can hack all information somehow, and when its on the net you wont get it “back”.
      If you mine enought data you can destroy people with it. The whole point is that

      They Should Not Have Any Data At All. For short TSNHADAA.

      Please read the wiki link. We dont have a real Stasi 2.0 today, but .. who knows what brings the future? better fight now then when its too late.

    • Milky1985 says:

      “People share information THEY WANT in facebook or twitter. Do you people really have no problems giving up your privacy, completely?”

      In the case of twitter true but in the case of facebook they post the information THEY WANT , but ONLY to the people they want to see it.

      Sometimes this infomation goes out due to bad settings (sometimes due to users beign silly, sometimes because they don;t know any better, sometimes bcause facebook would be utterly idiotic and reset settings or introduce new stuff as “for everyone”) but it was meant only for your friends.

      You only have to see the current few prosectutions about the riots, where someone posted somethign for 20 minutes, only to his friends, and got chucked in prision for 6 months to see that somethign is wrong.

    • Kadayi says:

      @CMaster

      If you read the EULA you’d realize that scenario is never going to happen: –

      “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.

      Sorry to jump on the doom mongering, but it’s not happening. Also as regards personal files: –

      “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”

      So in other words not actual documents of any kind (pictures, videos, txt, etc), just hardware & software.

    • CMaster says:

      @Kadayi
      Fair enough. Although I’d ask just how careful they are going to be about that – in the case of say, the Census, they have to deliberately corrupt the data to prevent people being identified. Practically, of course, data protection is a joke, and once somebody collects something on you, it gets sold around the world several times over, despite promises and laws to the contrary. I’ve seen some interesting effects of this a few times (my mobile phone company changing my address (inaccurately) based on data they bought, being contacted by companies I’ve never heard of with all sorts of data about my commercial habits. Of course, practically all sorts of software could be doing the collecting without mentioning in the EULA or anywhere else.

    • Kadayi says:

      @CMaster

      It’s not like they’re copying your hard drive and then deleting the data they don’t want after, they simply aren’t bothering to record the data they don’t require.

    • Laephis says:

      @db1331 says:

      “I stopped reading at the, “Do you not have window curtains?” line. Not wanting to walk by a window after getting out of the shower is not the same as having surveillance cameras in public places, or cell phone tracking.”

      Why am I not surprised that someone making such terrible comments also lacks the reading comprehension to understand that article. What you “stopped reading at” was not the author’s argument, IT WAS “AVERAGE JOE” responses to the “you have nothing to hide” fallacy. If you had bothered to read the whole paper, you would have learned that the “I have nothing to hide” idea is based on the false premise that the purpose of privacy is to hide bad things. That is why your entire argument is bunk.

  6. Ravious says:

    This is especially worrying for those playing many NDA-enforced closed alphas and betas. Are they breaching the NDA by installing Origin?

    • WPUN says:

      That is a BRILLIANT point! And the answer would be yes.

      Let it be known throughout the land that EA carries the stain of ORIGINal Sin!

      P.S. Stupid damn three syllable name, EA.

    • terry says:

      Wait, EA products are betatested?

    • Kadayi says:

      The same would be equally applicable with the Steam hardware survey.

  7. johnpeat says:

    And there’s me having thrown my last tin-foil-hat away just last week… Oh wait – because I don’t need it!! :)

    I played WoW, man – we had the WARDEN, man – it knew everything about you – hell it could tell if your wife was cheating on you but it didn’t tell you – it just told BLIZZARD who then increase the number of female NPCs you will encounter to make you feel better…

    I realise RPS feels the need to bring this stuff up but I have a tiny, tiny hint of a suggestion of a feeling that someone has realised these threads generate a TONNE of comments (from raging over-entitled internet blowhards mostly) and that’s impressions which means popularity which means more ad revenue which means worldwide wealth, fame and fortune for those who keep telling us shit like this instead of just SHOWING US LOVELY GAMES

    DRM is the new Minecraft around here…

    • Ricc says:

      It’s a good thing, that those topics generate a lot of replies. It’s a consumer issue, that (sadly) has become more and more important over the years. Just a sign of our times. And good reporting also includes things that need to be improved.

    • FCA says:

      So just because some other game has the same, it makes it OK? I remember the outrage when people found out that the WoW scanner basically uploaded your entire process list to Blizzard, people were mad, but because enough people put up with it, it still works the same way. And why does Blizzard do it? To get rid of cheaters and spammers? Then why am I still hearing whining about cheaters and spammers in WoW? So basically, people got stuck with a privacy and security challenging program, in order to get rid of cheaters and spammers, and now we have both the invasive program, and the cheaters. That’s the best of both worlds!

      I applaud RPS for making us notice, together with their effort against Ubisoft always online DRM. If enough people complain, they will change it. Nobody should collect data on what I do on my computer, except me. EA may not do any harm to me with it, but when they sell the data, or “lose” the data in any way, people will be harmed.

      It’s just like closing the curtains. I might not have anything to hide, I still don’t like strangers snooping around in my house.

    • johnpeat says:

      FCA Said “It’s just like closing the curtains. I might not have anything to hide, I still don’t like strangers snooping around in my house.”

      I’m sorry but the spyware already on your PC told us that you write comments on RPS whilst wearing nothing but a clown nose and oversize shoes – and for that we’re GLAD you close the curtains…

  8. Premium User Badge

    Fitzmogwai says:

    I was looking forward to BF3 but the more EA nonsense that comes out about Origin the less I want to have anything to do with it.

    Bye EA. It was nice knowing you. Some of the time at least.

    It’ll be Space Marine and DX:HR keeping me busy over the next few months, I guess.

    • KingMudkip says:

      Well, DX:HR’s up to the task, at least.

    • shizamon says:

      Yeah, screw EA, I knew as soon as I saw that Origin was required I wasn’t getting it. Got so many acquaintances that will just go out and buy this shit, not caring about what Origin is doing, just want to play the next popular awesome looking game.

      Arma 3, enough said.

  9. roethle says:

    Anyone remember EA’s old downloader? The thing was a disaster. Ive played every battlefield game since 1942 came out when I was 16, Guess I will have to skip this one.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      I remember. I remember it being a piece of shit. The main reason why I instinctively didn’t want anything to do with Origin is because I remember EA Downloader and how atrocious it was. If EA think that was worthy of release, what will origin be like?

  10. wccrawford says:

    I can’t believe these companies are stupid enough to think they can snoop through your computer without your permission and they won’t get caught at it.

    EA is now on my no-buy list.

  11. woodsey says:

    Evidently no one at EA has realised that if they want to ‘beat’ Steam they need to at least APPEAR to have customer’s interests as a focus.

    I don’t see how my installing a game can in any way be linked to my agreement of them scanning my entire system. Surely there’s something in law that protect the customers from such obnoxious behaviour?

    • jon_hill987 says:

      Yes, putting something in the EULA does not make it legal. If the ELUA said they they own your first born you can ignore it as they would be breaking the law to act on it. In this case I expect the ELUA breaches privacy laws so if anyone contests it they will probably have to change.

    • pipman3000 says:

      Hey if you don’t like how the EULA requires you to sacrifice your first born child to Lucifer then I suggest you start reading this shit for ALL your appliances. And then when you’re done, you will want to call and have your internet connection terminated, then take all your money out of the bank, cut your payment cards, cancel your mobilephone subscription and throw it out. Disconnect your landline phone, quit your job, cancel all your email adresses, try to revoke all registrations you ever made, then possibly change your name, and move out of wherever you presently live, walk out away from inhabited areas as far as possible and live in a forest somewhere. Then maybe, just maybe, you can get around things tracking you.

    • jellydonut says:

      ‘Evidently no one at EA has realised that if they want to ‘beat’ Steam they need to at least APPEAR to have customer’s interests as a focus.’

      Hear hear. Steam is successful because Valve are the antithesis of assholes in suits – they’re developers and gamers themselves. EA make themselves seem like a bunch of boardroom suits, completely out of touch with anything related to games, gamers, the community and how to communicate and interact with us. Which, you know, I am more and more inclined to believe in.

    • diamondmx says:

      Edit – comment somehow got attached to wrong thread.

  12. KingMudkip says:

    OK, where’s the inevitable petition to get EA to stop it? This needs to be shot down before ME3 comes out.

    In other news, I just told my firewall to block everything Origin does. Let’s see what that does.

    • Premium User Badge

      Tunips says:

      Seems like that ought to work. Someone might do a little digging and work out the mechanism, then we stop it. Because we use a PC, and can do things like that.

    • Askeladd says:

      Probably the cops are comming right now to you, to bash in some teeth cuz’ you broke Origins EULA.

      Never mind.

    • Milky1985 says:

      “Probably the cops are comming right now to you, to bash in some teeth cuz’ you broke Origins EULA.”

      Ah you’ll be fine in the UK, they would raid the wrong house :P Beside tey are too busy “policing the streets” in case someone else steals a box of crispy cremes from gregs!

      Just for the love of god don;t put anything that might been seen as supporting rioters on a private facebook page or they will get the right house, lock you up and throw awawy the key!

    • PersianImm0rtal says:

      http://steamcommunity.com/groups/bf3boycott

      Please join the boycott.

  13. GenBanks says:

    Go RPS!

    If only more games sites were so proactive about highlighting issues and pressuring companies. You guys did a great job about making the Ubisoft flip flop on the From Dust DRM clear to the public. Hopefully if enough other journalists do their job EA will modify their terms, because this is something totally unnecessary.

    Hurray for good journalism!

  14. HorzaEdeo says:

    Just a FYI, SWTOR will NOT need Origin to run the game, or patch it. It is the only place you can download it from, however.

    From the forums, by the Community Manager:

    Originally Posted by StephenReid
    Regardless of what other games may choose to do in their integration with Origin’s desktop client, here’s what our situation is:

    You are not required to use the Origin desktop client to download, patch or play the game client for Star Wars: The Old Republic.

    This applies whether you purchase The Old Republic via Origin.com or from a retailer in boxed form. You will not be forced to install the Origin desktop client.

    There are still various consumer benefits to the client itself, but it’s not required for The Old Republic.

    • markcocjin says:

      You forgot that Bioware is EA’s bitch. Nothing Bioware says sticks unless EA wants it to. They can change their mind tomorrow and Bioware will have to follow or face having to change their company name and wander the indie wilderness alone. Budgetless.

  15. mindlessrant says:

    No way this is going on my PC. Not in a million years. I dont care what games they have in their line-up. This is absolutly unacceptable. Thanks for the heads up RPS.

    • Premium User Badge

      PoulWrist says:

      I hope you never use search and have some way to avoid having your visits and general trafic tracked by search providers and analytics providers. Cause well, right now someone is tracking that you’re on this website and where you went after and where you are now… good luck getting rid of all that tracking. One more and one less.Hm.

    • pipman3000 says:

      Poul Wrist, how do you get the taste of boot out of your mouth :p

    • AbyssUK says:

      I know I block it all

    • D says:

      @PoulWrist Thats not that hard, here’s a file for Opera http://www.fanboy.co.nz/adblock/opera/complete/urlfilter.ini

      Also note that I don’t think anyone wouldn’t mind if Origin is allowed to collect statistics on which purchases they have made in Origin, as this seems to be your relevant point. The issue here is what additional information Origin auto-collects, not comparable to the information Google Search collects (search requests, result clicks). http://www.google.com/privacy/privacy-policy.html
      If the Google privacy policy said “We can also collect all software information on any computer you use to search the internet” you’d have a point.

  16. schwick says:

    Bioware confirmed no Origin for SWTOR. Thank f*ck for that. Also I decided not to buy BF3 because of Origin.
    http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=8488436#edit8488436

    • Premium User Badge

      PoulWrist says:

      Hope you have fun not playing BF3.

    • db1331 says:

      Seriously. Have fun riding around on that moral high horse while everyone else is playing what looks to be the best shooter in years, if not of all time.

    • Eclipse says:

      Let’s see, with games like Space Marine, Serious Sam 3, Deus Ex, Hard Reset, Red Orchestra 2 and Dead Island yeah I think he will have a great time not playing another boring “oh so real” shooter

    • Premium User Badge

      PoulWrist says:

      BF3 being the only one of those you mention to carry any kind of innovation in the genre. But yea, you go ahead and ignore that and call EA evil etc., fanboidom is a horrible crux.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Tell us more about the burden that fanboidom places upon you, Poul.

    • Zern says:

      I love how you managed to attract all of the most vocal Origin apologists at once with your post.

    • ecat says:

      ‘db1331 says:
      08/24/2011 at 14:42

      Seriously. Have fun riding around on that moral high horse while everyone else is playing what looks to be the best shooter in years, if not of all time.’

      I have a handful of pobble beads here, some bright red, some the deepest blue. Just look how bright and shiny they are. What’s more, they’re all yours. All I ask for in exchange is a copy of the keys to your house, that’s all, just the keys. I promise not to take anything, or even poke around when you’re not looking, well, not much anyway. And even if I do sometimes poke around to see what you own or what you’ve been up to, it will be in your best interests, honest, I’m just trying to make your life better.

      You can trust me, it’s not like I’m a stranger you met in some bar, oh no. I’m a big company, with your interests at heart. I’ll never tell your friends about anything I find and that is a promise, but sometimes, sometimes when the price is right, I may share some of your life history with other big companies. Companies like the one which makes those oh so shiny pobble beads, and that must be good, we know how much you love those beads.

      Trust me.

    • PersianImm0rtal says:

      well then join this http://steamcommunity.com/groups/bf3boycott

  17. Premium User Badge

    PoulWrist says:

    Not you too? This is just… stupid. I’d like to wager that their reply will be something along the lines of “you are overreacting to a broadly worded standard form that we copypasted from Google”.

    And then the general stupidity that posts like this leave behind.

    If you’re that worried about things, I suggest you start reading this shit for ALL your appliances. And then when you’re done, you will want to call and have your internet connection terminated, then take all your money out of the bank, cut your payment cards, cancel your mobilephone subscription and throw it out. Disconnect your landline phone, quit your job, cancel all your email adresses, try to revoke all registrations you ever made, then possibly change your name, and move out of wherever you presently live, walk out away from inhabited areas as far as possible and live in a forest somewhere. Then maybe, just maybe, you can get around things tracking you.

    • johnpeat says:

      This man deserves a medal…

      Go read a utility supply contract or your home/car insurance terms (or your parents’ if you’re that way situated) – and THEN you’ll stop worrying…

      I’m pretty sure utility supply contracts include clauses about having first shot at your daughter…

    • Rii says:

      “Go read a utility supply contract”

      Minor detail: games are not electricity. Industry can talk all it wants about games being a service, I’m still evaluating them as the products they were when I was a lad, and largely still are in the console space.

    • diamondmx says:

      Yes, unfortunately we live in a world where every EULA contains at least a few things you would never agree to, but have to because not agreeing to it means you cut yourself off from all software, all hardware, every website, every organization and pretty much the entirety of modern society.
      The world has become full of rules which we don’t want to agree to, but have to, just to get by.

      And it’s not getting better.

    • johnpeat says:

      Digitally Downloaded games are considered a service in UK Consumer Law – right alongside ringtones and digital music.

      You might not like it but there’s nothing you can do about it…

    • markcocjin says:

      While it would be perfectly normal for your wife’s Gynecologist to inspect her vagina, I’m sure you wouldn’t appreciate it if your gardener also did the same.

    • Rii says:

      “You might not like it but there’s nothing you can do about it…”

      Except that there is. Starting (but not necessarily finishing) with not giving you my money.

    • Milky1985 says:

      So because one person does it its perfectly fine for everyone to do it then? we should just all clam up and sit in the corner and not say anything if we don’t like it?

      We shoudl also ignore the fact that they are different markets entirly and bunch them all together as one.

      Yeah great idea, i’ll get right on that…

  18. pipman3000 says:

    No you see Steam is worse because Valve hurt my weenie.

  19. Brainz says:

    I have no interest in the BF-modded COD that is BF3 or the SW-modded WOW that is SW:TOR anyway.

  20. moarage says:

    I bet steam has something like that as well

    • Eclipse says:

      they have the “steam surveys” but you can disable them if you want to, nothing is forced

    • Premium User Badge

      PoulWrist says:

      Eclipse, please point us to the exact place in the steam client where this option is located :p

    • Meneth says:

      @Poul: You do know that the Steam surveys make you click several buttons for your data to be submitted, and you can just click the ‘No’/’Cancel’ button to make it not submit anything?

  21. Kaira- says:

    For shame, EA. For shame.

  22. Jams O'Donnell says:

    I hate things like this. Just when you start getting complacent and stop reading EULAs some bullshit like this is hidden in one. Please just accept that I’ve paid for your damn game and leave me alone!

  23. Premium User Badge

    Corpekata says:

    Should be noted that devs on Bioware’s forums confirmed you won’t need Origin to play KoToR.

    Not that this makes the EULA any better.

  24. kwyjibo says:

    This is not a big deal, no one really cares. Maybe I’ve been conditioned by Google to give my personal data in return for services, but this is the future we’ve all chosen.

    Steam does this. It collects your data, from your hardware, to your network, to your behaviour in order to target advertising your way. Amazon became the greatest store in the world by doing this. And Steam scans your hard drive too, with your permission of course – but when you do those hardware surveys, it tells Valve what non-Valve software you have too.

    Users don’t care about this stuff. If they did, facebook would not exist. What users do care about is shit like the From Dust DRM, which punishes legitimate buyers and promotes piracy. What they care about is the bloody hassle of having the first two Mass Effects on Steam, and then having the third on Origin. What they care about is whether or not Origin provides a better service to Steam.

    • Premium User Badge

      TeraTelnet says:

      No, Steam ASKS you if it can do this. Origin just takes it.

  25. nootron says:

    If they’re going to scan my drives and then sell that information to advertisers, does this mean im going to start seeing lots of horny teens and busty blondes in advertisements after I install Origin?

  26. jkz says:

    EA is lame.

  27. konrad_ha says:

    Thankfully there are plenty of games out there worth playing in my severly limited time. Although I wish I could play BF3 I realized I could just as well skip it.

    There, this wasn’t half as hard as I had imagined.

    EA, we will meet again when you have learned your lesson.

  28. Tei says:

    Using /bin/diff, I have found that since the EA downloader migration to Origin, a section seems removed. Is the section that let people transfer a account to other person.

    2. Transfer. You may make a one time permanent transfer to all your
    rights to install and use the Software to another individual or legal entity
    provided that: (a) the Technical Protection Measures used by the Software supports such transfers; (b) you also transfer this License and all copies of the
    Software; (c) you retain no copies of the Software, upgrades, updates or prior versions; and (d) the receiving party accepts the terms and conditions of this License. You may not be able to transfer the right to receive updates, dynamically served content, or the right to use any online service of EA in connection with the Software. You may not be able to transfer the Software if you have already exhausted the terms of the License by authenticating the Software on the allowed number machines.
    Subsequent recipients of this License may not be able to authenticate the Software on additional machines. EA may require that any end user of the
    Software register the Software online as a condition of use and/or purchase additional Licenses. NOTWITHSTANDING THE FOREGOING, YOU MAY NOT
    TRANSFER PRE-RELEASE COPIES OF THE SOFTWARE.

    Or maybe has moved it somewhere else? I can’t find it. Whats is this second sale thing USA used to have?

    Moral of the story:

    Don’t read EULA’s, you will always find things to get angry at.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      I dunno, I’d rather read the EULA than be stitched together, mouth to anus, with another iTunes user because I agreed to something I didn’t read…

    • Askeladd says:

      I will resist to ask for a picture.

    • Saldek says:

      Better still: go back in time and tell yourself to resist parsing the sentence.
      Oh, yeah, should your former self ask why, just say: “No time to explain …”

  29. pyjamarama says:

    I fell that Origin is being a little single out, because this doesn’t seem new terms when compared with WoW for example. In order to track cheaters they basically need to scan your computer. Of course the broad terms that are used could mean that they could be used for other stuff. In the end regardless of terms of service you have to trust that any software installed in your PC to not to screw you, so you either trust EA not to be to evil or you don’t, and if you don’t I’m sorry but EA is not worse then any other publisher so just disconnect your PC from the net and go live in a cave.

  30. Pobblepop says:

    Whatever happened to just buying a game and playing it, where did all this bullshit come from. This just knocked BF3 off my radar.

  31. NegativeZero says:

    Better switch to Linux then, because I’m pretty sure you’ll find similar clauses in most Microsoft and Apple software too. Ever submitted a crash report to Microsoft?

    Most likely in EA’s case it’s not limited to EA games because a lot of the stuff they publish is not developed directly by them, so EA isn’t necessarily where that data would end up.

    • wu wei says:

      Ever submitted a crash report to Microsoft?

      A Microsoft crash report asks me if I want to send it, and doesn’t stop me from using Windows if I choose not to comply.

  32. UTL says:

    It’s really sad how many people don’t care for their privacy. Is everything on your hard drive completely legal? No copied mp3 files? Do you not have any private information on your computer? Do you not use your computer for things that should be secure like online banking or work related stuff?

    Anyway, my solution is called VirtualBox. Then their happy little trojan horse can snoop on a completely empty system while I play.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      If that works like other virtual machines, how do you expect to pay a game on an emulated graphics card?

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      VMware and VirtualBox both support direct hardware 3D acceleration these days. Haven’t tested it on either, though.

  33. TormDK says:

    I would be more worried if the EULA didn’t say this link was the dominant one : http://www.ea.com/1/privacy-policy

    However, since the Origins EULA is considered below that of their privacy policy I don’t see what the fuss is about, despite the aggressive wording used in the EULA for origins.

  34. wintermute says:

    EA is perfectly within its rights to do this.

    You are perfectly within your rights not to buy their games.

    Either don’t buy the game, or shut the hell up. If you can’t live without Battlefield 3, then an abusive EULA is the least of your problems.

    Sad, but true.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      EA is perfectly within its rights to do this.

      Doubtful. Certainly not in every country they operate.

    • Milky1985 says:

      “Either don’t buy the game, or shut the hell up.”

      Shurly i’m also well within my rights to not buy the game AND to say what i thnk about it, or was there a EA sponsered amendment to the human rights act I don’t know about?

      [EDIT] Theres also consumor rights because you don’t see the EULA at purchase time, but returning it after purchase time is a ball ache at best.

    • Saldek says:

      Either don’t buy the game, or shut the hell up.

      That’s a bit low-brow for someone calling themselves Wintermute, isn’t it?

  35. R10T says:

    So it’s a “Trojan by an agreement” ?

  36. boywithumbrella says:

    On a semi-related note: can anyone advise me as to what the drawbacks of playing Sims 3 without Origin would be?
    Is it even possible (assuming Sims 3 is already installed)? Is there an update possibility apart from Origin (downloadable cumulative patches etc.)? Is the store for Sims items bound into Origin, or can it be used circumventing the installation of Origin on the PC?
    An answer would be much appreciated =)

    And thanks to RPS for the heads up!

    • D says:

      If you’re completely drawing a blank on these questions, I’d suggest finding a piracy forum (link not supplied), as they will likely have an answer for you. Or at least help you unscrew yourself :)

  37. Premium User Badge

    Crimsoneer says:

    So, I’ll have more relevant advertising in Origin. Woop di do. It’s all anonymised, so it can’t be used for anything sinister, and they won’t give me ridiculous ads. Result.

    Question: does ANYBODY opt out of the Steam hardware survey? REALLY? And why?

    What does the fact that “user34544″ has been playing L4D, surfed RPS and posted 3 comments on the Guardian going to impact you at all?

    • gallardo1 says:

      Sorry, but you have very little knowledge of privacy concerns and a concept called data fusion.

    • Askeladd says:

      ^^ This.

      And its not “user1234″, they already know your name and where you live and much more! Probably :)

      Its like they are playing sudoku, but not with numbers but with your information.

    • Prime says:

      “Question: does ANYBODY opt out of the Steam hardware survey? REALLY? And why?”

      I do. Yes, really. Because it’s personal. I choose not to share that information with any company, in the same way I choose not to let door-to-door salesmen into my home or even entertain their wants on my doorstep.

    • PopeJamal says:

      I just read an article about how casinos (at least here in the US) are using this new super-snoop piece of software that can LITERALLY match your photo up with the digital scan of the license plate on your car, realize that you are sitting across the table from a guy you shared an address with for a semester in college as a freshman, see that you two seem to be winning a little too often at the tables and quickly and quietly have you escorted out of the building.

      Do you know how they can do that?

      Because of data being collected by third parties like this. Sure it’s already out there, but allowing it to continue just makes it easier and more accurate.

      Fun Fact: It’s illegal for the US government to spy on you and keep secret databases, but it’s not illegal for them to “consult” with a third party that does that very thing.

      Did you know that Netflix released a ton of “anonomized” data and offered a $1 million prize to any group that could effectively identify a particular user using only their zipcode and their movie rental data. The prize was collected and the method was verified. Do you think it would be really hard to do that with any other “anonomized” dataset? Probably not.

      We should all care about this type of data collection. Hell, in most countries, the data is ABOUT YOU, but you don’t own it or have the right to even see it. What does that tell you about their intentions?

      But why should we care, as long as we can shoot moar mens in their faces, AMIRITE?

      I used to think that America was the only place with socially and politically ignorant everymen. It’s a small comfort to know that’s not true…I guess… <.<

  38. gallardo1 says:

    It’s so difficult to battle for your rights: sure, you have the magic option of “not buying”, but you have to convince a few millions of your friends to be effective. It’s more or less easy like trying to talk about a good cause on the street to a stranger (nobody cares).

    What we need is a strong consumer association and we need it now, because we’ve lost a few rights already. Wanna resell your games bought on Steam(or others) as you used to do with retail? no sir.
    Wanna play an old game you bought on Steam? no sir, not available anymore.

    Valve puts huge effort on appearing the good guys all the time, but it’s in business like all the others. I wondered how they could have resolved the problem with EA and as usual they seem to have found a way to save the face again. …to the masses at least, I bet they’ll not surrender and allow Origin to work inside Steam. It’d be like you being able to have a market inside your app to avoid the appstore and paying Apple. The same happened with kongregate inside the android market, but I don’t remember the end of that.

    RPS does a good work at highlighting singular cases (ex. From Dust), but then it’s all up to the good will of the publisher, while they should be forced to respect the consumer.

    I’d like if RPS could make a list of all the little issue we have now with digital delivery, just to put everyone on the same page.

    For example, my problem today is understand why I’m forced to update all my games even if I play online. I selected them to no automatically update but the command is ignored. Ha. Now I can’t play at least 10 games because I’ve to download 8 gb of updates. Thanks

    • mickygor says:

      You need to look up the difference between a right and a privilege. You have the right to a level of privacy – you do not and have never had the right to resell products that you have purchased.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      you do not and have never had the right to resell products that you have purchased

      This could not possibly be more wrong.

      First-sale doctrine.

      FYI, Steam, iTunes et al. get around it by claiming their products are actually services. It’s bullshit, but at the moment, it’s a legally sound arrangement.

  39. markcocjin says:

    From Gabe Newell on Develop interveiw:

    “The point being, we have to earn the right to be installing content on a regular basis. The same thing is true of game developers and Steam. We have to prove we are creating value on an ongoing basis, whether it’s to EA or Ubisoft or whoever.”

    http://www.develop-online.net/features/1399/Gabe-Newell-on-Valves-new-horizons

    You need to earn the right to snoop in a person’s computer EA. A computer where people do other things besides play games. Computers where a person’s life can be highly documented.

    You haven’t earned the right EA. How dare you. But yes we do have a choice. We who are not as stupid.

  40. pipman3000 says:

    Look guys if you’re not going to fork over every single last bit of your personal information to the first person who asks you might as erase all traces that you ever existed and go live in a cave never talking to another human being as long as you live. It’s either this one extreme or this other extreme and there is no middle ground at all. :p

    • Burning Man says:

      Are you a troll or not?? The lack of clarity, IT HURTS!

    • Enikuo says:

      If there’s no middle ground, how do you go from one extreme to the other? Is there a bridge? A commuter plane? What if the cave is over there on that other extreme?

    • D says:

      [ :p detected ] Likelyhood of sarcasm: 0.8
      Oh hey, my internet sarcasm detector worked.

    • Koozer says:

      What we have here BurningMan, is a prime example of what we call in the trade “sarcasm.”

  41. Dodoman says:

    Oh noez my harddrive!?!

  42. theblazeuk says:

    Quoting Qrter just to reiterate the actual issue to all the apologists and pathetically apathetic you see on these issues:

    “if Valve would still scan your hardware/software even if you’ve said no, and if this would come to light, you’d be able to hold Valve accountable.”

    I don’t think many of you understand the value of your permission and why you should never agree to a blanket statement such as this. If you need it simplified further just use your own argument about “they can but why would they'”.

    “I can agree to give you anythign you want, but why should I?” To play the game you are going to purchase from them is a poor reason.

  43. MulleDK19 says:

    What about the end of the clause?

    “To the extent that anything in this section conflicts with the terms of EA’s Privacy Policy, the terms of the Privacy Policy shall control.”

    I haven’t read their Privacy Policy, but isn’t it likely that they’re denied access according to that?

    • Saldek says:

      As far as I understand the matter, privacy policies are binding only for the company itself. The EULA is binding for them and you.
      The privacy policy may be changed at the companies convenience. Any protection previously granted by the privacy policy may be removed at such a time. The EULA, however, remains binding, possibly subjecting you to any of the privacy infringements previously discussed.
      The only remaining protection would be the laws of the country you are living in, which may void aspects of the EULA.

  44. RMPR says:

    Bravo to EA, they really have found some amazing ways to push away potential PC customers for both BF3 and SW:TOR.

  45. Bilbo says:

    It’s just heavyhanded legal speak, it isn’t a statement of intent they’re just covering their arses in very broad terms. That’s how you write legal documents cheaply, you don’t make an effort to tailor them, just lay out the heaviest cover fire you can. It’s the difference between keeping the dogs out with a chain link fence and building a 17-foot-thick steel-reinforced concrete wall to do the same thing. It’s criminally inefficient and it’s not ideal and it does protect them from litigation if they do decide to start doing nefarious things, but it isn’t proof that they will or a smoking gun that they intend to. They make their money from publishing and selling games, not organised crime. Take a chill pill, John.

    • Funso Banjo says:

      Oh come on, no-one ever accused John of being relaxed.

      I think John would be the first person to admit he knows the clause is simply over-zealous legal disclaimers, but he has to get readers excited somehow. Scaremongering works.

      I like John, but I get a feeling he’s trying to create a CV that might land him a job on the Daily Mail.

    • Prime says:

      Selective cynicism such as yours, Funso, seems to be rife around here. Have a pop at the journalist, why not? That’s almost certainly easier than admitting that the large corporation with a demonstrable history of looking after their own interests at the expense of their customers might actually not be lily-white in this instance. If you can’t believe that any of the work John has done on this site might not be for our benefit – with no prior evidence of selfishness to point to – then how the hell can you trust something like EA??

      But yeah, you slander away. It is, after all, very easy to do safe behind an anonymous keyboard.

    • Bilbo says:

      No, no, good on john for reporting it and everything – it’s relevant and interesting – but it can’t be denied he’s being a bit alarmist

    • Prime says:

      I’d actually agree with that, BIlbo, aalthough I don’t attribute that to any malevolent or selfish inent – possibly just enthusiasm. :)

      Tellingly, some of the pronouns he’s used seem to indicate he’s not the only RPS member that thinks this way:

      “It strikes us as beyond acceptable.”(emphasis addd). Ok, that’s reading a lot into word choice but I seriously doubt the other Hive Nodes don’t get a say in what content runs on the website they built together, or any consultation when news items like this come along.

      But, like you said, I for one am grateful he’s bringing stuff like this to our attention because it does need to be addressed.

    • Kadayi says:

      I kind of wish it was a case of ‘this looks interesting’ lets get a legal person to give their thoughts on it (maybe with a breakdown as to what each part actually means in real world terms), rather than OMFG EA are The Evil. I think that would make the difference between this being an interesting article Vs an alarmist one.

  46. Larkin says:

    The Data Protection Act states

    Personal data shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes.

    Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose or purposes for which they are processed.

    They’re only allowed to collect data they have demonstrated is required for a specific purpose such as improving service or, at worst, tailoring their advertising. They are not going to be sweeping your harddrives and selling anything they find to the highest bidder.

    • Askeladd says:

      No, but some “guy” will make a “mistake” and “your data” will “vanish”.
      Also the possibility of hackers getting your information. You aren’t a man of the internets until they hacked your information at least once!

    • Larkin says:

      If thats the concern then what makes this any different from all the other instances of data collection currently in operation? Not very fair to hang these guys based on what other companies may have stuffed up.

    • Askeladd says:

      Oh, I wasnt speaking of Origin in particular. Origin is just another nuisance that I have to be wary of. A big nuisance.

  47. mejoff says:

    “We’ve noticed that you’re playing more MW3 than BF3. Why is this? Why would you do that to us? Is our game not good enough for you? Is that it? It’s the moustache isn’t it.

    Slut.”

  48. Longrat says:

    I definitely will not install this, I don’t want EA seeing my hideously deviant pornography involving donkeys and gelatin secret plans for a time machine.

  49. Rossi says:

    Alarmist post is alarmist!

    If you read through many EULAs theres plenty of statements that make you think ‘wtf’.

    EULAs do not give companies a pass to scan your computer, but it may allow them to gain information regarding their product use. The words Application and Software are within the scope of the installation of the product. Even though they imply all the applicaitons on your computer, this isn’t the case.

    Lets pick it apart shall we:

    “You agree that EA may collect, use, store and transmit technical and related information that identifies your computer (including the Internet Protocol Address), ”

    This will happen anyway. As soon as you connect to Origin or start playing a game online, your IP address can be know. In the same way that connecting to a website also reveals your IP address, and since an IP address is unique, it can be used to identify your computer. Recording information abouth the specification and technical abilities about your PC seems fine. This can work in your favour where a situation might lead to a problem arising with your PC due to a software update, the information can prevent this.

    “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”

    Application usage refers to Origin and/or EA software. It doesn’t mean Microsoft Word or anything else. Within an EULA, these terms refer to the scope of the product. Nothing else. Recording application usage could imply that they may need this information for proper distribution of patches. For example, you haven’t played a certain game X months, therefore the incremental patch system needs to know what patch to apply first.

    “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”

    Email addresses and newsletters etc. We get these everyday! Also if BF3 development is sub-contracted out so that DICE can work on other things, the studio may need to know this information.

    Seriously, stop panicing. I bet this is the first time someone has actually bothered to read an EULA!

    • cjlr says:

      Yes, that’s more or less what I was thinking.

      I mean, it’s EVIL, and BAD, and since EA are a PUBLIC CORPORATION, and EVIL, and NOT VALVE, this must be yet more evidence of their PURE MALICIOUSNESS.

      It’s all just god-damn standard clauses.

      EDIT: I should probably add that that doesn’t mean I approve. It’s bullshit.

      BUT! I’ve already put up with the same stuff from many other service providers over the years, and, guess what – so have you.

    • SAM-site says:

      I’m sorry, your rational comment is not welcome here. Please leave the thread.

    • D says:

      Standard clauses are all well and fine, unless they’re not.

      “Application usage refers to Origin and/or EA software. It doesn’t mean Microsoft Word or anything else. Within an EULA, these terms refer to the scope of the product.” Is this true, someone else? Is it also true for the blanket terms “software, software usage”? Because this seems to be a good point, believable at least. Also whether EA’s privacy policy enforces more protections for us.

      (Preferable a lawyer, I really like having lawyers around here, you know back in my day we didn’t even have a single lawyer here, it was horrible really, so people on RPS would go around and make up all sorts of copyright laws and what have you that conformed to their own world view, but I’m sure that doesn’t happen anymore. Anyway, respect to you lawyers out there.)

    • Kadayi says:

      Pretty much agreed. John has to stop taking everything that makes it up the Reddit ladder at face value. Last weekend he bought completely into the whole ‘Valve offering refunds on From Dust’ as a given, even though the Blogger who wrote that fabricated the whole thing….is it really that hard to fact check?

  50. Vinraith says:

    Now see, that is actually something more evil than what’s in Steam’s EULA (albeit only slightly). I still think all this attention paid to Origin’s EULA when none is paid to Steam’s is questionable, but at least this time you’ve legitimately caught them with their hand in the cookie jar. Bad EA, very bad.

    I’m glad to see RPS bringing attention to this kind of thing, please do keep it up, but please cast a wider net. Origin is hardly uniquely evil.

    • Bhazor says:

      It may not be as bad as Valve’s EULA.
      But it is about as bad as their Privacy Policy statment.

      “Except in the cases described below, Valve will not share personally identifiable information with any third party unless the user agrees to such disclosure in advance. “Personally identifiable information” consists of a user’s name, email address, physical address, or other data about the user that enables the recipient to personally identify the user. While Valve collects personally identifiable information on a voluntary basis, for certain products and online sites, Valve’s collection of personally identifiable information may be a requirement for access to the product or site. Personally identifiable information will be processed and stored by Valve in databases situated in the United States. Valve may allow third parties performing services under contract with Valve to access stored information but such access shall only be to the extent necessary to provide those services. In those instances, the third party will be bound by the terms of this privacy policy. In some situations, personally identifiable information you input in connection with Steam may be made available to other users of Steam. For example, during registration of Steam, Valve collects a user’s email address and nickname, and at the user’s option, first and last name. Some of this information is searchable and available to other users within Steam. Valve has no obligation to keep the privacy of personally identifiable information that a user makes available to other users via Steam or other Valve software, such as in multiplayer or other public functions”

      http://www.valvesoftware.com/privacy.html

    • Vinraith says:

      I’d argue EA’s is still a hair worse, but your point is well taken. As I was saying, bringing attention to this kind of thing is good, failing to bring attention to it when anyone does it is not.