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. CMaster says:

    Reply fail

  2. Bantros says:

    So EA are going to be able to watch me sitting in my boxers playing BF3 whist scanning my drives for personal information which they will then of course sell and laugh about it?

    Whoops, I already installed it

  3. aircool says:

    Sounds almost unlike blackmail.

  4. db1331 says:

    Oops.

  5. Monkey says:

    1 – Its probably not legal

    2 – Firewalls

    • D says:

      if(OriginBigBrother.CurrentConnection.StateFailed) {
      // Firewalls should not block Origin datamining
      OriginGameLauncher.InvalidateAccount();
      OriginGameLauncher.TerminateAll();
      throw new UserNonComplianceException();
      }

      Programmers edit: This is exaggerated and not how you would do it ofcourse, you’d just use the same TCP connection for user authentication and for sending the data, so would require breaking their application protocol (aes encrypted too probably) and filtering out the messages manually.
      A better solution: Very restricted Windows users.

    • Dammokles says:

      Whether it is legal or not depends on where you are. I know for a fact (full disclosure: law nerd), that most European data protection laws would make this sort of data gathering not only illegal, but quite possibly criminally actionable.

  6. 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.

  7. OJSlaughter says:

    This will probably just lead to them scanning all the games installed on your PC, so they can create advertisements for you: annoying yes but threatening no.

    Still, the fact they have the ability to do much more with this information is worrying and why I will avoid this software like the plague!

  8. aircool says:

    So am I just gonna get spammed with adverts for porn?

  9. Atic Atac says:

    This is not in the EULA. Read it.

  10. AMonkey says:

    Ah jeez. So how am I meant to play Battlefield 3 then?
    I don’t want to use Origin, especially after reading this.
    I don’t want to play it on consoles.

    ?!

  11. dwl says:

    There is a lot of talk here about what Company A B and C do with data. The fact of the matter is I don’t want anybody collecting data about me at all. Sadly those days have gone. All the comments here seem to be accepting of data collection, which is a real indicator of how bad things have become.

    Oh yea, and if there is a clause in EA’s terms and conditions that allows them to do something its because they will be doing it. Not might or maybe or could do.

  12. Demikaze says:

    I’m confused as to why EA would want to scan your HDD et al. How would such data benefit them? How would it help their marketing to know I recently installed PhotoShop, for example? Is it simply so they can see how you use other digital distribution sites, such as Steam? Perhaps it’s a way to see how Origin is faring alongside its competitors. Surely published sales figures would be enough, in that case. I do hope it’s simply a silly oversight on their part. I really don’t know why a whole host of publishers appear to be being pretty daft recently.

    • MrMud says:

      Maybe they can scan your hentai collection and offer you some deals on certain japanese games, it doesnt all have to be bad!

    • Arona Daal says:

      Maybe they are just “extending their Business Model” by Datamining your Harddrive.

      Google afaik for example track your net Behaviour,they essentially sell *you*,and not just ads.

      I find it hard to believe they could not create a legally separate “third party”,which could make good Profits by even just selling the constantly updated Directory of a few Million people.

      Fazit: If you cannot afford a second clean System,or a second harddrive,at least encrypt your work/business/bank/private files .

      Even better install a second,fully encrypted OS on a large Harddrive.
      Betters safe than sorry and the data access speed is the same,at least i have never noticed a difference.

      Truecrypt works nice.
      Also Google: Ghostery,Trackmenot or “Firefox Privacy apps”

      Its a Sad thing one has to resort to this,even against Legal companies.

  13. Bayonetto says:

    This has just about pushed me over the edge with RPS. No doubt this will be revised and explained. This is not my, nor your, first time to this dance. Remember the Gmail boycotts?

    • MrMud says:

      Gaming “press” should totally just lick the publishers ass, anyone claiming to do any real reporting is not a proper games journalist. Why would you want real reporting in your news when you could be reading regurgitated press releases instead!

    • Rii says:

      John Riccitiello?

    • Larkin says:

      How about a nice healthy balance between the two extremes?

  14. Khemm says:

    I would normally applaud bringing such things to everyone’s attention, but I’m fed up with articles bashing Origin/Ubisoft which at the same time sing Steam’s praises or portray Steam as the super awesome thing that does everything right in comparison. They feel like they’ve been written by someone just DESPERATELY trying to find something to bash Valve’s competition, which might put an end to Newell’s monopoly.

    Read Steam’s EULA – there are enough things in there to make you frightened, why won’t you write articles about those? Or most EULAs for that matter, you’ll find out that most companies already spy on you, including your precious Steam – what makes you sure they aren’t collecting data on your everyday computer-related habits, do you believe Valve don’t know your IP address and aren’t willing to give it to companies using Steamworks? If you bought something on Steam, they know everything about you, do you honestly believe certain companies aren’t making use of such information without you being aware of it?

    We might as well cut ourselves off from the internet, this is the only way to protect ourselves. Sad, but true.

    • Taince says:

      You’ve hit the nail on the head with that one, not in the direction of your post, but with your use of the word “COMPETITION”.

      Seen as this is what EA intend to enter into, with Valve and numerous other digital distribution outlets on the web, You’d think the least they could do would be to try and NOT alienate customers?

      Fair competition is much needed in this burgeoning market, as Steam does corner the market somewhat. This is, however because it provides a high, consistent level of service that makes customers, and independent developers feel cared for.

      Referencing an earlier post, snipped a bit :

      Rii:
      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.

      Eclipse:
      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

      Cars were terrifying when first they came to town, but now look! (they’re still terrifying – ED)
      People needed that kick, and the pioneers that forced it on us made us thank them!

      The first leap has been made, painfully at first and now, in order to compete fairly, developers, publishers and corporations such as EA need to provide something better.

      Not take the game that I have been waiting for since battlefield 2 (2142 was good, but doesn’t really count) and put me through a ritual of acceptance or abstinence.

      The stage is set, the ground rules are down,
      Gentlemen, let’s have a fair fight!

      Please….

      I want battlefield 3 :-(

    • PetiteGreve says:

      Well, everyone in the street can murder you. Every company can spy on you.

      The thing is, Valve (Steam) have show respect for their users so far (this is why there is no “Steam bashing” all the time)(nb: it’s far from being a perfect service, as an european paying 147% of USA price I know what “unfair” means).

      On the other hand, EA showed despise for their customers and for developers so many times, even after the Activision fiasco regarding Infinity Ward devs, EA was still the most hated publisher. Ubisoft is trying hard with its UbiDRM, but they’re far from replacing EA.

      When Valve writes “we can collect informations regarding Steam and Steam-related games and share it with third parties”, we can trust them (a little).

      When EA writes “we can collect informations regarding any software installed on your harddrive and do whatever we want with it”, we can not trust them, I’m sorry but it’s big no. The probability of an inappropriate/disrespectful usage of these informations is way too high.

  15. Mutak says:

    EA…so predictable. What a bunch of asshats.

  16. Roxteddy says:

    Thanks a mil RPS, I just cancelled my pre-order due to this unfortunate news and so did a few of my mates, we need to say No! at some point and I Think saying No! to a bitching game such as BF3 would be a good start, to prove once and for all that this DRM bullshit is not the way forward, it seems the gaming world is going more sour with every passing day “first D3 and no Bf3″ I am highly disappointed at what has become of gaming, is it necessary to go through so much effort just to play a god damn game “I miss the good old days”. Pieces!

  17. Bhazor says:

    So again a company gets lambasted for something Steam and Google have been doing for close to a decade. So long in fact no one even notices it.

    C’est la vie as the Welsh say.

  18. Martin H says:

    From the Steam EULA

    “7. USER GENERATED INFORMATION

    “User Generated Information” means any information made available to other users through your use of multi-user features of Steam or to Valve through your use of the Software. User Generated Information may include, but is not limited to, chat, forum posts, screen names, game selections, player performances, usage data, suggestions about Valve products or services, and error notifications. Subject to the Valve privacy policy referenced in Section 1 above, as applicable, you expressly grant Valve the complete and irrevocable right to use, reproduce, modify, create derivative works from, distribute, transmit, broadcast, and otherwise communicate, and publicly display and perform the User Generated Information and derivative works thereof in any form, anywhere, with or without attribution to you, and without any notice or compensation to you of any kind.”

    Which means that they can do anything with everything they can gather via steam.

    • Milky1985 says:

      No it means they can post what you write on there forum to there forum….

      Its an odd legal thing required to stop you from making a forum post and then sayign “hey that iinformation i posted why are yyou quoting it and making money from it its what i said i demand money because i said “lol” on your forum”

      Note the pesonal informtion mentioned here is screen names etc NOT ABOUT YOUR COMPUTER

    • D says:

      I simply do not understand how anyone can read that section of legalese and see anything at fault with it. Eye of the beholder, I guess we’re all afflicted to some degree. (Not lawyers tho, lawyers are still awesome.)

    • Martin H says:

      the important things are ” or to Valve through the use of your software” and “but not limited to”. Everything that valve can get from the software is fair game according to this.

    • D says:

      User Generated Information = The things that come out of your keyboard, as far as I know, not including your harddrive contents, which they have specifically said will not be looked into, other than Valve products.

    • Shooop says:

      But only what you yourself actually give them. I.E. forum posts and user recommendations to friends.

      They have no right to actually snoop around inside your hard drive besides any game files which came from Steam. EA is writing themselves a warrant to search your entire computer.

  19. bwion says:

    My technical knowledge of this stuff is limited, but it seems like it would be theoretically possible to run Origin in some sort of sandbox environment that doesn’t give it access to any parts of your computer that don’t directly relate to Origin and/or whatever EA game you happen to be running at the time. Or, if you wanted to get really extreme with it, have an installation of your OS specifically reserved for Origin and nothing else, or even a dedicated Origin machine. Or just encrypt your sensitive data and have done with it. Or any of a dozen other options that I have doubtless completely overlooked.

    Remove their ability to look at things you’d rather they didn’t see, and it doesn’t matter what “rights” they claim in their EULA. (And, provided you didn’t make any actual modifications to Origin or their games, there’s no reasonable way they could claim you’re in violation of their terms of service.)

    Of course, you shouldn’t have to resort to such heroic measures to protect your privacy. And maybe you can’t be bothered to do so. (I am not sure that I can be bothered, to be honest., aside from keeping my passwords and such under wraps) And this in no way makes the practice of turning your purchase of (or “subscription to”) a game into open season on your private life an acceptable one, nor is it one to which we should turn a blind eye or a silent tongue. It just means that we’re not as helpless in the face of this as EA would doubtless like us to believe we are.

    • mondomau says:

      Sanboxie works apparently. Not sure if I care enough about BF3 to jump through hoops though.

    • bwion says:

      Well, it’s kind of a moot point for me since I’ve no intention of buying BF3 anyway. (A decision rooted in a principled stance against tyranny and oppression oh and also I don’t really care for modern military shooters.) BF3 obviously won’t be the last game that requires Origin, of course.

      But yeah, as you say, I’m not sure I can be bothered to do anything too elaborate. But it’s nice to know that the options are there.

  20. mondomau says:

    Oh man, this topic makes my brain itch. I resisted being one of the (probably) hundreds that sent it to RPS because I am growing tired of the same circular bullshit arguments that are swimming around on reddit, the escapist, BF3 forums etc.

    To Sumarise:

    – Yes, it is similar to many other EULAS and EA are not evil for having a EULA

    – Steam also monitors some of your information.

    – EA’s is not the same as Steam’s EULA, which states they only collect software data in the context of you actually using steam and the games installed therein. The hardware surveys are just that – surveys, you are never forced to take part. The EA EULA being circulated implies (by omission of qualifiers) that it’s monitoring is not restricted to running the service and playing games. Corollary: They are gathering info about everything, all the time origin is running.

    – The document in question also states that it will use these ‘anonymous usage data’ along with ‘any personal information’ (again, lack of clarification here as to what ‘ along with’ means) to offer you services, which will, in all likelihood, involve passing that information on to 3rd parties. THIS IS THE BIT I FIND WORRYING. And all of you that say things like ‘Oh, it’s to cover their asses, it’s just a bit of harmless legalese – they’d never actually do anything with it, they just haven’t been very clear.’ You are terribly, terribly naive. Lawyers are never vague by accident.

    – Steam has pulled some sly tricks, like bundling steam with retail copies and dangling HL2 as their original incentive. they’ve also done a hell of a lot for small developers and publishers. EA, on the other hand, are objectively and demonstrably fucking douchebags with a long record of dick-moves and a sea of grasping share-holders behind them. If you’re going to compare them to a privately run firm like Valve, bear that in mind.

    • Kadayi says:

      Why does Steam apparently need to know that I have CCleaner on my machine?

      http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey

    • Milky1985 says:

      @Kadayi (who seems to not get points previously made and that s/he is talking about 2 different things)

      “Why does Steam apparently need to know that I have CCleaner on my machine?

      http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey

      Because when steam asked if you wanted to be invovled in the steam hardware and software servey, and said it would post this info to there servers , the user clicked on a big button that said “yes”.

      The user also had a button saying “no” on the screen that they could click on and then steam would not know that you had ccleaner on your computer!

      Also steam does not say “give us this info or don’t play your games” :p

  21. aeromorte says:

    … heh … hehehe…. hehehehehe … if they wont change it untill bf3 release date ill cancel my preorder … 2nd time jesus wtf is wrong with everybody? first ubi and drm now ea with origin -.= at this rate i wont be playing half of the games thatll come -.= …… btw what will happen when lets say some dude hacks into the pc informations from origin? it wont be just account name and password + some stupid stuff that most times you can ignore … it will be so much stuff on you its not even funny … BTW : “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 dont even know what the hell that means but i dont like it already

  22. AgamemnonV2 says:

    “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.” ”

    I read this as, “Dear sheeple: we want you to give us your money so we can install malware on your computer. We understand that we continue to push you into just simply purchasing a copy of our game second-hand and just simply playing the pirated version without ever touching the disc. Still, we hope that you’ll just drop your shorts and bend over.”

    Yeah, I think I’ll stay on the seven seas with Cap’n Crunch.

    • Unaco says:

      If you don’t like the strings they attach to the game, don’t play the game. This isn’t a justification for Piracy.

    • D says:

      Nobody needs justification, all that’s needed is incentive. The pirated version will however be full of cheaters :(

  23. ChromeBallz says:

    Here’s a question. What if you use your firewall to block this specific activity of Origin? Or any other way to block the program itself to do anything but update your game.

    They might use that to sniff out pirate versions going online though. However, what if the activity is blocked by the ISP? I very much doubt they have any legal ground whatsoever to actually do this, as EULA’s on their own have already been repeatedly pounded into the ground – They are contracts you only get to see after you have already paid for the product. This is, by any consumer law, illegal, and if they were actually tested the companies would be in serious trouble. If not, that would just prove how corrupt the judicial system is.

    Clickwrap agreements need to be abolished. For any such matters, much clearer agreements need to be made at the time of purchase, not after the purchase has already happened. This is a ‘sneaky’ move to dissuade costumers from seeking their right, as fewer people will ask for refunds than they would decline the purchase if they had known about the agreement.

    If this is true i’ll be making sure Origin won’t be abusing my PC like that. If they cause problems about it, so will i.

    • D says:

      It’s not a given that you can block just the data sending (once it gets into Origin, you can’t really prevent EA from getting whatever data was collected, if you still want to keep your account unbanned and play games), so the best bet would be locking out Origin with sandboxing (VMware, user privileges etc.).

      “EULA’s on their own have already been repeatedly pounded into the ground”
      I’m not sure this is true, I’m however completely certain a lawyer on here has said that if he made such a claim, he could lose his job.

  24. Pointy says:

    And……. CUT!

    That’s a wrap.

  25. mickygor says:

    Read their privacy policy. It supercedes, and allays any fears regarding to, the EULA.

  26. WolVenom says:

    Play BF3 with Steam as a non-Steam game
    EA collects that info
    ?????
    Profit!

  27. Po0py says:

    Just want to say thank you Rock Paper Shotgun and Escapist forums for bringing this to light. Unfortunately it looks like I’ll be skipping Battlefield 3 unless an alternative and safer way to play it on pc becomes viable.

    I love Battlefield games. I’ve been playing them for years. This makes me very, very sad.

    • Synesthesia says:

      +1. We need more of this kind of journalism for this industry. I am also a long bf player, and i wont be able to play this, not only because of the preposterous EULA (it IS a big deal), but because i am a dirty spic, i am not allowed to get their games dirty, so i am charged 70 dollars in Euros, the most inflated coin in southamerica.
      So it is: forcing users to use their distribution service or be locked out of their games.
      Scamming south america into paying european prices (classy)
      Dropping this nicely worded eula that make want to go buy a bucket of vaseline, just in case.
      Yup. Gotta love it, protect it, and support them. God knows they need all the help they can, the poor things.

    • Commisar says:

      Damn it you ignorant people READ THIS: http://tos.ea.com/legalapp/WEBPRIVACY/US/en/PC/ It SUPERSEDES THE ORIGIN TOS/EULA. PLEASE GET SOME KNOWLEDGE.

    • PersianImm0rtal says:

      Join the boycott if you love BF3.

      http://steamcommunity.com/groups/bf3boycott

  28. Novack says:

    Thank you RPS!!!

    THANK YOU for reporting this things!

    And please, no matter what, ignore the offhand, indiferent, bad informed and mediocre opinions of those vocal minorities who always tends to suggest “whats the big deal?” to everything.

    • Unaco says:

      While you’re on it, also ignore the paranoid, panicked, hasty comments of those keyboard warriors who want to find a villain in everything, and see any and every business as evil incarnate, involved in a conspiracy to steal all of our precious fluids.

    • gamma says:

      @ Unaco
      A conspiracy theory, as soon as it is public ceases to be… and becomes fact!

  29. jesteroony says:

    It is wrong but it definately aint anyfin new is it…

  30. Eddy9000 says:

    I realise that I’m posting so far down the comments that nobody is reading, but here we go!

    I have a private practice as a clinical psychologist at home. The notes, letters, and the recordings of my sessions are highly confidential and are kept on my home computer, which is protected by a firewall. It doesn’t matter whether or not EA wants to access that information or not, the fact that they can means I cannot install it as it contrvenes client confidentiality. The use of computers for both business and leisure in the home puts many people in the same boat, be it corporate information, IP or clients personal records. I’ll stress again, it isn’t that EA would want this information, it’s that they potentially could access it that makes this such a big problem. Shame, ‘cos I’d really like to play ME3!

    • PetiteGreve says:

      I read it :P

      Your point is very interesting (and not just about Origin), how can we protect patient/clients confidentiality (often protected by national law) with such privacy-breaching softwares ? And if such informations are leaked through these programs, who’s responsible ?

      Regarding your computer, you really should encrypt the harddrive where you store clients data (TrueCrypt might be the solution) and have a 2nd computer for leisure.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Thanks for that advice, I’ll definitely check out truecrypt!

      it is a ball-ache though isn’t it? At the moment my firewall probably isn’t the most secure form of protection, but at least if my computer gets hacked I can pursue that person as a criminal and avoid personal liability; under the EA system I’m essentially giving permission to them to access my files, and I wonder where this puts me legally? A second off-net computer would work, although I specifically bought my PC as a ‘home hub’ (or servodroid as I like to call her!) to do everything, and it’s secure enough at the moment. Would feel a bit like I’m paying £440 for ME3 if I got another cos of EA!

      The other big thing that worries me after the PSN debacle is how easy it would be for someone to hack EA’s servers and access my computer? It isn’t just ‘paranoia’ as some posters are saying, a couple of my clients might well be interesting to the tabloids, and we all know what they’ve been up to!

    • Kadayi says:

      They are monitoring hardware and software, not personal files. Also: –

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

      Given Steam does exactly the same you best uninstall that if you’re worried.

  31. Marcin says:

    Thanks for running this, RPS. “Absently click” is exactly how I treat eula’s, so I wouldn’t have known.

    I’ll have to see if I can run my current EA games (Saboteur and Bad Company 2 only atm) without Origin – if not, it is bye bye. Sad, but … we’re in a gaming renaissance right now with fantastic hits coming left and right, and there is no reason whatsoever to put up with this sort of bullshit treatment.

  32. joshg says:

    Only a few people seem to have mentioned that this clause could be connected to anti-cheating measures, which surprised me. That seems to be the most potentially-legitimate reason for this clause.

    Although, maybe this is still different than something like VAC in that VAC just checks for known suspicious processes without collecting and logging any of the information.

    • D says:

      Which can be one of the reasons Valve don’t repeal VAC bans? If they don’t have any logged data about user programs aside from whatever code VAC spat out, interesting. Blatant Valve defending in this post, please disregard, I only care about the implementation details.

  33. abremms says:

    you know who else absently signed a contract without reading it? Adam Jensen. They turned him into a robot with a man-head and some skin. TRUTH.

    actualy doesn’t sound so bad… where do i sign?

  34. lijenstina says:

    A barrage of tu quoque and relativist fallacies.

  35. Mavvvy says:

    So does this mean that if malware attacks your system, but comes with text file disclaimer that its okay?

  36. Ernesto says:

    I don’t like being spied on!

    But it’s amazing how many people are willing to reveal everything on their hard disk to someone/something they have never even seen. You wouldn’t allow some stranger to walk around your house and open every door (or would you?).

    These days it feels like this: Gaming is about how much crap you can take. And then take some more!
    Some publishers are aggressively testing their limits. Game publishers are supposed to make their money by selling games, not information. I really don’t like the way the gaming industry is changing.

    I was born in _1984_, maybe that’s why I’m getting paranoid ;)

  37. oatish says:

    I’m going to go paint some miniatures.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Have you read the small print? Purchasing minatures gives games workshop employees the right to enter your house when you’re not in and go through your underwear drawer.

    • Mavvvy says:

      Yeah gone are the days of the 1,000 point battles, say hello to the 1,000 word clauses.

      Or maybe that was just the manual, I remember plenty an arguement over the rule book :P

  38. dc says:

    Meh.

    ORDER INFORMATION
    [Refund] Battlefield 3 -£26.21

    Pity, that was a decent price for a good looking game… but this is not just one step too far.

  39. _PixelNinja says:

    PunkBuster’s EULA isn’t bad either:

    “Licensee further acknowledges and accepts that PunkBuster software may be considered invasive. Licensee understands that PunkBuster software inspects and reports information about the computer on which it is installed to other connected computers and Licensee agrees to allow PunkBuster software to inspect and report such information about the computer on which Licensee installs PunkBuster software. Licensee understands and agrees that the information that may be inspected and reported by PunkBuster software includes, but is not limited to, Licensee’s Internet Protocol Address, devices and any files residing on the hard-drive and in the memory of the computer on which PunkBuster software is installed. Licensee acknowledges and agrees that if Licensee does not want Licensor to collect and process such information, Licensee should not use the PunkBuster software. Further, Licensee consents to allow PunkBuster software to transfer actual screenshots taken of Licensee’s computer during the operation of PunkBuster software for possible publication.”

    • Xiyng says:

      Punkbuster actually has a reason for that. EA does not. Well, not an acceptable reason at least.

    • _PixelNinja says:

      I’ll still avoid both…

  40. Commisar says:

    Allright, everyone please read this: http://tos.ea.com/legalapp/WEBPRIVACY/US/en/PC/ and know that is supersedes the origin EULA

    • bwion says:

      Since you clearly feel so strongly about this, I assume that an actual dissection of EA’s privacy policy, the precise ways in which it supercedes their EULA (yes, I know about the bit in the EULA that says the privacy policy takes precedence), and what this means for us as end users is forthcoming.

      Meanwhile, I’ll just continue to take whatever measures I deem necessary to protect my personal information, thanks. Right now, those measures include “not have anything unencrypted on my home computer I really care about the world knowing”, and “not buying Battlefield 3″ (though that last has little to do with this debacle), so, I’m not actually being particularly inconvenienced either way.

  41. LostViking says:

    Thanks RPS for putting this out there!
    Like most people I never read these things, they are just too long ;)

  42. Xiyng says:

    Don’t bother replying to this and no, I haven’t read the comments. Six pages is a lot.

    I’m not buying Battlefield 3, no matter how good it might be. Not only does it require me to use Origin, it also requires to to allow EA do practically disable my games and gather just about anything from my computer should they want to. I doubt they’re really going to use those abilites in a way that’s harmful to me but I find it problematic enough that they CAN do so it they want to. Also, in regard to BF3, dumbing down the command chain, dumbing down the class system, probably several other horrible design decision, no mod support, probably no LAN support, and day one DLC don’t make it any easier for me to want the game. I do want it but they’re practically doing everything that’s not directly gameplay-related wrong, and even some of their gameplay design choices are questionable at best.

  43. elnalter says:

    it’s like the video game edition of the patriot act. and i love how the first post is totally behind consent of what is basically wiretapping “no way, they will totally not collect marketing data about me through my pc, EA is too moral for that!” LOL

  44. BarerRudeROC says:

    In this day and age I still can’t believe people defend EA after the atrocious service for their customers, including the shutting down of servers (most notably BFME2 which was still extremely active at the time of shutdown), destroying good indie companies, neglecting PC gamers and now selling your private information without consent.

    • Kleppy says:

      It’s not that anyone is defending EA per se, it’s just that people want to play what is quite obviously going to be a great game (made be DICE, not EA). It’s just not a huge deal to most people. Most of us are just going to buy the game, play it for a couple months then move on to the next game. As a gamer for the past 20 years, I’m not going to skip a good game because of some ridiculos tinfoil conspiracy. I don’t have any important information hidden on my HD – unless EA really, really want to see pictures of my holiday in Greece.

  45. slpk says:

    We’re all angry about EA so this overreaction is understandable. The truth is, whether this is a nice (meaning not-evil) practice or not, we all agree to tons of similar terms constantly while installing software, visiting websites and using devices. It’s the way this little society works.
    Yeah, I enjoy kicking the dude on the floor like any of you but, let’s be reasonable.

    • elnalter says:

      poor EA is on the floor bruised and beaten, who will have mercy on them. how unfortunate they are, will anyone here stand up for them in this injustice of an article?

  46. nimnio says:

    Application usage, software, software usage and peripheral hardware.

    I’m sorry, I must be missing something: where exactly does it say my personal files are being uploaded to EA?

    • Kadayi says:

      In peoples luminous imaginations it seems. If only there were properly trained legal people out there that respectable Journalists could turn to clarify what all this legalese means before they run a story?

    • Commisar says:

      sigh, and so goes RPS’s slow devolution into /v/. First it starts with incomplete/misinformed titles and/or ill thought out stories without all the facts, and it gets worse from there

    • Milky1985 says:

      “Application usage, software, software usage and peripheral hardware.

      I’m sorry, I must be missing something: where exactly does it say my personal files are being uploaded to EA?”

      I’m sorry where does it say in the article that personal files are being uploaded to EA? It says programs, not data files. So as “Kadayi” said

      “In peoples luminous imaginations it seems. If only there were properly trained legal people out there that respectable Journalists could turn to clarify what all this legalese means before they run a story?”

      I shoudl also point out that the journalist that wrote this article did clarify the points so we can understand the legalese, however the commenter making the snide comment is oddly basing it on bad info :D

      Anyway back to the point, in the article it says

      “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.”

      Note the “what you have installed” , not “what suspoiously numbered .avi files you have in that hidden folder”

    • Kadayi says:

      @Milky1985

      What the article writer claims, and the actual reality are entirely different things. What part of that don’t you quite understand? Johns a reactionary Journalist. Sure he can review games (and I enjoy those) but he jumps to conclusions without researching them all the fucking time (this is one of a long litany of terrible facepalming articles). Pausing and doing some actual fact checking as well as consulting with some legal people might not have been a bad idea in this particular case instead of going with the Fox News scaremongering angle. My apologies for not swallowing everything that’s said here as a given. My bad.

  47. Navagon says:

    Thanks for pointing this out. Hopefully it will lead to EA clarifying this and removing the clause. Chances are it’s just some butt-covering going on. This is typical of US companies as they need to cover themselves against virutally any scenario. Even ones they have no intention of placing themselves in. That’s what a lawsuit-happy culture buys you.

  48. foda500orama says:

    WAIT A MINUTE, EA KNOWS WHAT KIND OF PORN I WATCH? FUCK!!!!

    On a more serious note: So basically Origin IS a spyware, creepy.

  49. Hyperion says:

    welp. guess I dont have to worry about buying Mass Effect 3….

  50. Myros says:

    This seems to go against the whole thing of ‘do not track’, even the US congress are getting in on that issue. And this appears to me no different, If I dont want people collecting and transfering data about me I should have this option (ie an option other than not buy EA titles).

    It is my data after all, if they want it they can pay for it.