German Origin Furore And EA Denial

By Jim Rossignol on November 2nd, 2011 at 9:57 am.

Corporate logos are the greatest!
EA’s Origin service has come under unusual pressure in Germany after a number of (unconfirmed, as far as I can tell) analyses seemed to show the program accessing data used by external programs. Additionally, German newspaper the Spiegel caused particular consternation by running an article suggesting that the licence agreement that came with the service might not hold up under German law. The situation has become so fraught that German retailers have taken the unusual step of offering to refund Battlefield 3, even after redemption of keys and registration with EA. Eurogamer report that EA Germany issued this statement yesterday:

“We have updated the End User License Agreement of Origin, in the interests of our players to create more clarity. Origin is not spyware. Neither do we use nor install spyware on the PCs of users.”

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136 Comments »

  1. Nemrod says:

    The bretzel is a lie!

  2. The Ninja Foodstuff formerly known as ASBO says:

    Challenge everything.

  3. Baka says:

    Doing a quick google on german sites, they changed the EULA this way
    - they promise to use the user’s data only in conscientious and “appropriate” ways
    - they deleted the part about being allowed to monitor online activities (wonder how that should work, they need it for matchmaking etc, no?)
    - they added “We don’t share personal information, except if forced by law or to enforce EAs rights (they didn’t delete the part about scanning for legitimate licenes of other games)
    - they still force you to participate in regular surveys known from the voluntary steam ones (scanning hardware info, operating system)

    No Idea if it’s now fixed for the german law but it certainly hasn’t improved.

    • Wulf says:

      Steam surveys are always optional. Big difference.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I think steam still automatically takes a note of your OS and hardware, though I hardly consider this spyware! The surveys are optional though.

    • Baka says:

      That was what I was trying to say, f’ed it up, it seems.

    • nofing says:

      Nope it’s still a long way to be ok with German laws and the funny thing about all that is, that they didn’t even bother to do an Origin update, which means they changed nothing, just reworded it a little bit.

    • SealedSun says:

      How is the Steam survey optional? I haven’t seen the monthly prompt since they added software to their survey. We have to suspect that Steam has decided to make the “surveys” mandatory. (The subscriber agreement allows for this)

      Thing is this: I’m totally okay with the hardware survey, but scanning my HDD for programs I have installed goes too far. This is really none of Steam’s business.

    • skinlo says:

      Thats because they aren’t done monthly for every user. I’ve had around 8 things coming up since getting Steam.

    • frymaster says:

      @sealed sun:

      It’s exceedingly unlikely that the software report is done by scanning hard drives; apart from anything else, that would piss off people with large hard drives and/or networked drives something chronic. It’s far more likely they just hook into the list of installed programs that’s used by Add/Remove programs (or “programs and features” or whatever)

  4. killmachine says:

    i didn’t buy bf3 and don’t plan on doing so. i just find this issue very interesting and frustrating for the bf3 fans.

    why is it that just (we) the germans make such a big deal out of this? origin actually is able to scan your whole hd. doesn’t this concern you?

    the fact that ea did change it’s eula doesn’t change so much either. i personally just don’t trust ea on this. and apparantly there was no program update for origin, so it works just like before they changed the eula.

    it’s good though that the mainstream media reports about the issue. sadly, germany is just a relatively small market, but maybe we can see some change in ea’s politics. maybe if we scream loud enough, some day we don’t have to use origin anymore.

    i personally did consider buying bf3, but on the other hand don’t want to install origin on my pc. what’s even more funny is that there are cracks out there that let you play your legally purchased copy of bf3 without origin. no idea how or if ea can track this and ban your serial key or whatever, but apparently it is possible to play bf3 without origin. at least that’s what i read on the internets.

    oh, and btw. take a look at the german amazon site:
    http://www.amazon.de/product-reviews/B004M17DVM/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

    • Serge says:

      What a shame!

      You’re missing a great game. Perhaps, THE shooter of the year. Or even two years. Or three?
      (Talking about MP of course)

    • Makariel says:

      consumer rights > shooty shooty

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I think if you look through past Origin threads, you will see that all nationalities held concerns, it’s just German journalists investigated and got there first….

      I’m sure there’s a Germans reserving the sun loungers at 6 in the morning joke here somewhere…

    • BAshment says:

      Don’t mention the war !

    • Khemm says:

      “what’s even more funny is that there are cracks out there that let you play your legally purchased copy of bf3 without origin. ”

      I don’t have BF3 and don’t plan to get it because of apparently atrocious campaign, but I call bull on this one. Origin works like Steam, that is, you HAVE TO install Origin first to be able to install the actual game. So this “crack” might as well make the already installed game Origin-free, but what’s the bloody point if you still need Origin in the first place.
      Unless they’ve written a cracked installer or something.

    • Avenger says:

      I have seen it and yes, it has its own installer.
      Pretty usual in the scene by the way

    • Khemm says:

      @Avenger
      You mean it has an installer which allows you to install the retail, legit version without Origin? Or is it your typical pirate-y “download the entire game, it has its own installer” thingy like with cracked Steam games?

    • Hallgrim says:

      Disregard.

    • Ace Jon says:

      Yes, here’s the Origin bypass. It’s by Razor1911, a well-known and trusted team who do this sort of thing. Note that this isn’t a link to a pirated version of the game, but rather a program to run your already existing bf3.exe. http://pastebin.com/ycF4YqcT

    • Shooop says:

      The single player is a copy/paste of MW2 with more QTE thrown in throughout.

      Don’t know about the multi, but Razor911 have decided to help those who don’t put up with EA’s shit find out.

    • ChainsawCharlie says:

      That Amazon page is awesome! F# you EA

  5. Serge says:

    Oh you, Germany.

    First, you’re afraid of violence.
    Now what? Spies?

    Chicken! Bawk bawk bawk.

    • Okami says:

      Yeah, stupid germans and their consumer rights!

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Now they suffer from their welcoming immigration policy. For years Germany housed Turkish immigrants, letting them open Dönner kebab kiosks on every German street and now – the ages old feud between Turks and Greeks has returned to haunt them. Greeks strike back where it hurts the most – the wallet. Alas, it is Germans who pay.

    • BAshment says:

      @Ultra Superior ha ha are you serious?
      What does Turkish migration to Germany have to do with Greek finance or origin for that matter.

    • Okami says:

      @Ultra Superior: That has to be the most random comment I’ve read all day.

    • ChainsawCharlie says:

      Turkey == Greece?

    • cyrenic says:

      Turkey fell in the greece and now nobody is hungary.

    • Joe Duck says:

      @Okami: And racist and wrong too.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      @Joe Duck: That’s not racist, those are nationalities, not races.

    • Makariel says:

      @ScubaMonster: It’s the same sentiment, how you call it is irrelevant.

    • Emeraude says:

      I’d say being able to differentiate between racism and xenophobia can go a long way in helping to deal with both problems.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Woah. Racist? Careful here.

      What is racist about my post? Ages old feud between Greeks and Turks?

      Germany paying in the time of financial crisis?

      Dönner kebab?

      What is wrong with you, Joe Duck? Trying to stir emotions?

    • Harkkum says:

      @Scubamonster and Emeraude

      Latest news, there are no races anymore. We lost those in the jolly 50s by those darn scientists! Hence, according to your definition there can be no racism. Confusion avoided.

    • rayne117 says:

      “It’s the same sentiment, how you call it is irrelevant.”

      “I was raped!”

      “Do you know what the guy looked like who raped you?”

      “Well, I mean, he was looking at me from across the room but he never touched me. How you call it is irrelevant, I was raped!”

      Contrary to your stupid belief, calling things by their correct names is a generally helpful thing.

  6. Meat Circus says:

    They’re EA. What did you expect?

    I am reminded of the parable of the scorpion and the frog.

    • sinister agent says:

      is that the one where the frog buys the scorpion a pizza, or where the scorpion gets bitten by a donkey?

      I get these things so mixed up.

    • Meat Circus says:

      Either will do. At the end, they all fuck. Moral of the story: EA. Tsk.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      The scorpion needs a lift to get to another Pandoran floating island, so he flatters the Frog. The Frog’s ego gets inflated and her body as well, creating a natural balloon. Scorpion then uses the frog balloon to fly to the floating island. While in midair, the scorpion decides to sting the frog, piercing the balloon and flying wildly all over Pandora. When the Frog asks scorpion why he did it, he answers – “that’s just the Origin of my species.” You should see their faces.

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Man, I love that parable. That’s the one in which the scorpion’s territory is being invaded by creatures from fluidic space and at the end the scorpion tries to assimilate the frog.

    • Dozer says:

      I love all of you.

  7. detective says:

    Hmm yes, last time I looked on amazon.de the game itself had over 3000 1 star reviews, not to mention now there is a modified executable available which launches Battlefield 3 without Origin..It’s about to get even more interesting.

  8. CVraden says:

    What is EA’s definition of “spyware?”

    • Ultra Superior says:

      The sucker pad with sharp diamond chained to it, with which spies can make circular holes in glass. Wide enough to stick a gloved hand inside and open your doors/windows FROM THE OUTSIDE.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Also, a very small camera to make photos on forbidden places without anyone noticing. A camera so small, it fits any everyday object. Perhaps even… a cellphone! Shhh…

    • Emeraude says:

      For EA, a spyware is a program that intrudes on their files and allows informations to be released on games before the embargo they imposed has passed, or for game to be released before street dates.

      Everything else is obviously fair game.

      More seriously, I could bet EA just thought “Well, Valve can do it, so why shouldn’t we ?”, and left it at that.

    • Shooop says:

      More seriously, I could bet EA just thought “Well, Valve can do it, so why shouldn’t we ?”, and left it at that.

      I remember Valve had a clause in their agreement that limits what they can scan to only things related to their game files. Unless that’s changed, EA has no excuse.

    • Emeraude says:

      I’m not saying EA was right – or even correct – to think that way, just that I can easily picture them doing so.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      I can picture them reading this comment section and wondering what are we all talking about? Spyware? That must be some James Bond gadget, ey?

      I am the only commenter that makes sense to them.

  9. Daniel Is I says:

    Y’know who never has to say “Our product isn’t spyware?”

    People whose products aren’t spyware.

  10. jRides says:

    The problem with this is that it appears they are defining spyware as hidden/stealth monitoring of your programs and usage where as EA are just telling you right out that they will be scanning your computer for pirated stuff and if they find it will be using it as evidence if need be. Pirated stuff I would assume also includes cracks and nocd executables from anything EA has ever done.

    But what are you going to do? What’s the average joe-user to do when buying a PC game for £30-£40, if you disagree with the EULA and decide not to install your left with a £30-£40 coaster, nice of Germany to offer refunds but the rest of the world you either agree or your screwed.

    • Makariel says:

      “But what are you going to do?”

      Not buy the game. If enough people would do so it hits EA where it hurts: the wallet. But currently it looks more like this: http://i.imgur.com/vrVVz.jpg

    • mutopia says:

      What the hell? Return the game of course, Germany is far from the only country that has consumer protection laws you know. If the shop refuses a refund simply make a big deal out of it and insist.

      If nothing else, you’ll discover if it’s a webshop or store you can trust with your purchases in the future.

  11. Makariel says:

    edit: ARGH comment system! :-(

  12. TParis says:

    Wow, they changed the EULA. And Origin is still accessing files that have nothing to do with EA games – unlike Steam.

    • Meat Circus says:

      Giving them the benefit of the doubt, is it possible this is an anti-cheat mechanism in action, like VAC?

    • Sheng-ji says:

      @Meat Circus -It’s unlikely that any anti cheat system would have to access files of software which have not got anything to do with EA, Origin or Battlefield.

    • Bungle says:

      An anti-cheat program would be a service that would be useful to the customers. I really don’t think the people at EA think that way. Origin isn’t about adding value – it’s more about the shareholders.

    • Wulf says:

      VAC isn’t transparent, you know when you’re heading into a VAC secured server. Steamworks games tell you this. It is a thing. A thing that they tell you.

      Furthermore, Valve’s anti-cheat system doesn’t scan the system from what I read in their development docs. It specifically scans the game data in memory, and if any processes are specifically hooked into the game, then it scans those too. It checks for regular strings and functions used by cheat programs, and monitors for suspicious heuristic behaviour to report back to Valve.

      Again, this is only for the game itself, and anything hooked into it. It’s not going to have a goosey gander at Firefox and read all the tabs you have open.

      Origin’s shenanigans however sound much more macabre. The fact that they’re not being up front and honest about precisely what they’re doing and why (as Valve would) makes me terribly suspicious of them. If they were to just explain why their program appears to be scanning things it shouldn’t, then that would be different. But this shouldn’t be transparent, and it should be optional.

      (Optional as in on Steam you see when a server is VAC enabled and you can either choose to join it, or join a server which isn’t VAC enabled.)

    • Shooop says:

      @Meat Circus:

      A good anti-cheat system doesn’t scan anything but the game files you’re using to make sure they’ve not been modified illegaly and at most, programs in your RAM at the particular time. It should never look at any other program or file on your computer otherwise it is by definition spyware.

    • Dervish says:

      Wulf, I’m not disagreeing with you so don’t fly off the handle or anything but you should know that your apparent definition of “transparent” is inverted. Transparency means MORE information.

    • Blackberries says:

      I think the anti-cheat software EA uses – with Battlefield at least – is Punkbuster (i.e. Not Origin).

  13. Bungle says:

    A lot of us have passed on BF3. It’s not just Origin – I didn’t like the way they were tying maps to pre-orders. It’s a terrible way to run a multiplayer community.

  14. celozzip says:

    funny this comes after the the anti-origin crack is released by razor. the question is whether you’d get banned by ea/pb for using it…

    • Makariel says:

      Actually it has been boiling in Germany for quite some time now and at least the article in the magazine Spiegel predates the anti-origin crack.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I believe you will have your origin account banned if you are caught using a hacked or cracked game. The key word here being caught, however I personally wouldn’t take the risk even with only one game on it.

    • Dozer says:

      So. Have a separate account for each Origin game you buy. U MAD EA?

  15. Turin Turambar says:

    People, be aware, there is A LOT of misinformation about this on internet. I have read some really ignorant comments of Origin uploading taxes files or monitoring Skype.

    Origin is not doing that.

    It’s just doing a full scan of your hard disk. dir *.* everywhere, to say it in other way. This is, it’s checking the contents of every folder, in search of your .exes (like Steam have a list of software stats, except it’s not optional in Origin :P), but it’s not checking the content of the files, it’s not copying them, it’s not uploading them.

    In fact, the proof is in the very same pictures of the german user that people are posting with the Sysinteral monitoring tool, the commands you see on screen are only checking folder structure and file properties. But of course, even if most people don’t have the IT knowledge they are doing comments as if they have it.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      There was a video, now deleted, demonstrating quite conclusively that Origin does scan Microsoft Office documents. Admittedly they are likely searching for macros but you’ve got to admit, it’s overstepping the line.

    • Astatine says:

      Oh, yeah. “Just” doing a *full scan*. Not uploading [the files]. And definitely not uploading any kind of information derived from what it saw while reading all your personal documents, oh no sir.

      This is the very definition of spyware.

      I think it’s time to boycott.

    • Cruyelo says:

      “uploading any kind of information derived from what it saw while reading”
      Except it doesn’t read any files.
      And looking at what Origin uploads shows… Nothing.

      http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/lsoj6/still_thinking_eas_origin_is_harmless/c2vbjty

    • Turin Turambar says:

      I am not saying what they are doing is not bad, it’s still technically a spyware, with the sole focus on their benefit (marketing team wet dream, etc), it’s not something done for the user’s benefit.

      I am just saying it’s not AS BAD as some people implies.

    • Astatine says:

      @Cruyelo

      You’re right, I seem to have reached hyperbole there. Pause http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lGUOFjMuQA&feature=youtu.be at 1:25 for example. Origin is calling CreateFile on everything under the sun (opening all files) but no ReadFile is logged, so it doesn’t appear to be reading the contents.

      I would very much like to know why it calls SetSecurityFile (which appears to be a ProcMon mnemonic, and not an actual Win32 API call, unless I’m being super-extra-fail at searching MSDN today; so I can’t tell what that is doing.)

      This is not a reason to let EA off the hook. They’re already not exactly champions of customers’ rights. Why on Earth does their game distribution system need to scan the entire directory structure of the user’s file system?

    • Shooop says:

      In before Serge and his “You’re all overreacting! It’s the game of year, why SHOULDN’T it be allowed to look through my hard drive?!” defense.

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Nobody needs to know the names of every file in my gentleman’s relaxation video folder.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      The whole hard drive “only”, really. Next up they’ll “only” log keystrokes, forget about typing “battlefield 3 torrent” in google! EA has the right to protect its IP by monitoring your intentions before you even carry them out! Actually, just type “mountain torrent” and you’ll probably be in trouble as well :P.

      But it’s ok for them to do all that, of course, the game is so a.w.e.s.o.m.e !!!!111

  16. asshibbitty says:

    The way EULAs are presented needs to be changed IMO. Right now it’s like one of those “are you 18 years old?” screens.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Are you? Let me see your microchip…

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      Most people should (hopefully) realize that no matter what a EULA says, your country and / or local laws will always take priority and make that document null. With the exception of actually protecting game assets, a game EULA exists almost exclusively as a toothless deterrent, not an actually binding legal document.

  17. Blackseraph says:

    Bye bye Origin.

    No one will miss you.

  18. remoteDefecator says:

    I’m glad to see some media backlash about Origin.

    I hate it. But they have me over a barrel, because there’s no way I’m going to boycott BF3 because of their stupid digital platform. Or SW:TOR. Argh.

    I just hope the backlash convinces the powers that be that PC gamers will not put up with this kind of corporate bullsh the way console zombies will. Hopefully enough people start screaming “I’m not buying SW:TOR if Origin keeps scanning my computer” to get them to tone it down a bit. As it is, I shut the program whenever I’m not playing BF3 (which isn’t very often).

    They’ve got a loooong way to go if they expect anyone to buy a title on Origin that could alternatively be purchased on Steam.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Long way? No.

      Better price.

    • Baboonanza says:

      I hate it. But they have me over a barrel, because there’s no way I’m going to boycott BF3 because of their stupid digital platform. Or SW:TOR. Argh.

      I just hope the backlash convinces the powers that be that PC gamers will not put up with this kind of corporate bullsh the way console zombies will.

      But you have just said that you WILL put up with it! By your own admission you are a PC zombie incapable of putting serious concerns ahead of your need for instant gratification and shiny toys.

    • Adynod says:

      @Baboonanza, I was just about to point out the same thing.

    • InternetBatman says:

      TOR sounds really, really cool. I was planning to spend about six months on it. I’m not now. I have so many games from steam sales, and I discovered Jeff Vogel’s rpgs not too long ago. I can wait for them to fix it or I can go without.

    • Shooop says:

      As Baboonanza said, you just told us all you ARE putting up with it.

      Did the backlash against the PC version of MW2 being gimped change anything? No because people still bought it. No major company looks at forums and feedback, they look at sales. If you buy it, they make more like it because that’s how a company makes money. Only an indie studio cares what people actually think of it once they’ve paid for it.

      PC gamers like you are already putting up with it just like “console zombies”. To your own admission no less. Grow a damn spine or shut up. You’ve got no room to talk.

  19. Tunips says:

    There is at least some small purpose to the harddrive scanning. If there are EA games installed, even in non-standard folders, it can go and suck them into the Origin client. I had Mirror’s Edge installed the old-fashioned way, but when I pressed the ‘download Mirror’s Edge’ button it Origin, it found it and linked it straight away. Didn’t even try copying the whole thing into some vast encrypted Origin file.

    Incidentally, I got the ME key into origin just by typing in the CD key. Bridging that retail/download gap is something only a one-publisher platform can really do. (They know you’ve given them some money in exchange for their bandwidth.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Valve does that with their keys, and you can use keys/manuals as a way to get into your account if you’ve forgotten you password. I’m really not sure about this, but I think it works for Steamworks enabled games too.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      That’s no excuse for scanning the hard drive when Origin feels like it. It should work like Steam’s feature to add non-Steam game to your library: at that point and only at that point, it scans for games, and does only what it’s supposed to do i.e. present a list of programs and doesn’t retain info about them afterwards.

  20. mr.ioes says:

    Let me add to this story.

    Here is the video that proofs that origin is scanning (I come back to that term in particular later on) your private data: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_e%20mbedded&v=3TAZ-HN9cOk
    In this case, it’s financial stuff.
    You can easily redo this with the MS program process monitor.

    I’ve tryed it myself with steam and (surprise!) it didn’t scan/access ANY data/programs except system programs or stuff in /steam directory itself.

    About “scanning”:
    EA just declined that they would scan for your data, but rather change accessrights of whole directories which ultimately leads to be shown as “scanning”, as each file gets accessed during the procedure of changing the rights.
    You can read more about this on Battlefield 3′s Facebook account by Olaf Coenen.

    I doubt this statement.

    If access rights are changed, it should show the appropriate Windows Service in process monitor executing that action (most likely explorer.exe).

    However, as you can see in the video the the files’ contents don’t get read, otherwise Operation “ReadFile” would pop up in the list. But still.

    I am from austria and as much as this disagrees/disaggreed with german law, anyone out there should be concerned when a program behaves like a trojan.

    • Astatine says:

      It changes access rights? That would be consistent with the SetSecurityFile seen logged in ProcMon in the other video I posted above. It’s also an incredibly bad idea. By doing such a thing, EA could be creating security vulnerabilities on people’s machines, through unexpected interactions with third party software.

      I don’t suppose you have an example of what changes it made?

  21. Icyicy9999 says:

    There is no doubt in my mind that not only is Origin malware, but that EA has been bundling malware with their games for years now.
    I think I’ll just avoid playing Generic Shootan 3 at least until an Origin independent version exists.

  22. OtaQ says:

    You really think it´s funny? Look this here: http://youtu.be/6lGUOFjMuQA

  23. Artist says:

    “EA’s Origin service has come under unusual pressure in Germany after a number of (unconfirmed, as far as I can tell) analyses…”

    Download the free Process Monitor and check yourself! Its really not that hard to see the massive snooping Origin.exe is doing on your system.

    Also, its seems a few folks already use Virtualboxie to fool Origin.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      And once you’ve seen what it’s doing it’s not hard to tell that most of the screeching about this is bullshit hyperbole.

      If you don’t like that it scans your drives looking for files then fine. If you’re scared that it’s reading your personal tax information and transmitting it to EA, then time to take off the tin-foil had and take a few deep breaths.

  24. Bastimoo says:

    Pretty awesome how the german Announcement about the EULA changes on the German Battlefield 3 Facebook-fansite had over 150 negative comments in under 5 minutes, raising constantly up to over 1000 today.

  25. hotcod says:

    edit: grrr was a reply for a post up ^ there some where

    Bioware have stated that SW:TOR does not use Origin as anything other than the DD platform. If you buy it at retail you shouldn’t have to install Origin for any reason. I think even If you buy it through Origin you’ll need to use Origin to download and install the game but once it’s installed you can simply use the games own luncher.

    As soon as word of the god awful mess that Origin is broke Bioware very very quickly distanced the game from the platform. Origin is simply the games excursive DD platform and is in no way integrated with the game. Which is the only reason I still have my copy on order :)

  26. Nethlem says:

    So far this is just a giant mess of lies…
    The video showing Origin “spying” only shows origin accessing ProgrammData folgers to scan for games, steam does the same thing at times but only in a better less obvious way.

    All the traffic origin produces is so small that it can’t transmit any data from your harddisk at all, most of the origin network traffic are just “staying alive” pings.

    The biggest lie is the stuff about the EULA….
    For 10+ years companies have put bullshit in their EULA’s, nobody over here cared because everybody knew that EULA’s don’t hold any legal weight in the EU as we still have customer rights over here.

    But now it’s suddenly something special to complain about? No it isn’t and this coming up now at this point just smell badly… there are at least half a dozen other companies out there with similiar stuff happening. Activision/Blizzard with WoW und Starcraft2 to name another one… who cares about their Guard scanning the harddisk and their EULA giving them insane right? Nobody…

    Imho this is viral-hate started by activision, they knew the situation in germany is easy to manipulate with the pirate party on the rise and the recent Bundestrojaner story. They tried first stealing press attention from BF3 with that fake news about MW3 getting leaked, that didn’t work so now they start this.

    Stupid people stay stupid and right now stupid people believing everything they see without second guessing are costing me money with my EA stock…

    • Srethron says:

      It is a bit weird to see this big fuss about Origin while there’s never been a similar fervor about Blizzard’s Warden (Google it), which has done similarly invasive / borderline Spyware like things under the guise of being anti-cheating for years.

    • Emeraude says:

      As I’ve been saying since that mess started, this, to me, looks like the first symptom of a crisis of trust between publishers and consumers more than anything else.

      I do believe Steam or Warden do the same thing Origin does. The thing is, Valve and Blizzard still have a modicum of trust from their consumers (for now… I can’t see things not deteriorating a lot for Blizzard). EA has little to none left.

      “The biggest lie is the stuff about the EULA….
      For 10+ years companies have put bullshit in their EULA’s, nobody over here cared because everybody knew that EULA’s don’t hold any legal weight in the EU as we still have customer rights over here.”

      Yes, and for ten years people *trusted* they wouldn’t get fucked over by EULAs… they don’t so much anymore.

  27. Ergates_Antius says:

    To say it’s “scanning … your private data” but then accept that “the files’ contents don’t get read”. So it’s not really scanning your private data at all (I don’t know about you, but I keep all my data in files).

    Scanning files and scanning for files are totally different things, and it’s misleading to suggest Origin is doing the former (unless anyone can provide evidence that it is doing so).

    • Beelzebud says:

      Why does EA need to be scanning files at all, outside the Origin (and games) directories?

      It’s amazing how some of you will actually argue in favor of this bullshit. They have no legitimate excuse for scanning your computer like this. Comparing it to Steam is a non-starter because you can load Process Explorer up and see that Steam isn’t doing anything remotely like this.

    • space_ghost says:

      “Scanning files and scanning for files are totally different things”
      No, actually as far as a persons private data is concerned they aren’t.
      It’s not for you to decide weather a person store private data in the filename or the file contents.
      You can get down to the technicalities all you like, but in the end, it’s looking at information that is outside of it’s ‘ownership.’
      Please would the apologists stop making excuses for this behavior.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      A bit late but:

      Firstly “No, actually as far as a persons private data is concerned they aren’t.”
      No, they are different. It doesn’t matter what the files are, scanning a file isn’t the same as listing a directory. It’s a different thing.

      Secondly, whos appologising? I’m just pointing out the difference.

      Why? I firmly believe that criticism should be based in reality not fantasty. If people are angry at Origin (or whatever) it should be about things it’s actually doing, not about things that some people believe it’s doing that aren’t actually true. Anything else is just bullshit that serves nobody, and actually damages valid criticism by association.

  28. Shooop says:

    Good for you German citizens. At least you’re smart enough to stand up for your right to not have a video game company of all things look through all your files.

    Now how about getting over your irrational fear of the Doom series?

  29. aircool says:

    I always though that EULA’s weren’t worth the paper they’re written on (which is, as they say, the square root of fuck all).

    • Emeraude says:

      That’s a common mistake. EULAs *are* contracts. They *are* binding as long, obviously, as they don’t contradict the law. Trouble is, if they do, they have to be challenged to be amended. And sometimes they try to enforce one possible interpretation of the law over the others. As long as they’re not challenged, they make it the de-facto accepted interpretation.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I believe one of the things EULAs fall down on is that they’re packaged inside the box… i.e. you effectively agree to them after you’ve opened the product, which impacts your purchasing rights, and thus your ability to take them back if you don’t agree.

      A catch-22 of you can’t agree if you haven’t opened it (because you won’t have seen it), but if you’ve opened it then you’ve automatically agreed… or something.

      Which is why a couple of companies started putting their EULAs on websites so you could read them before actually buying the product.

  30. DoctorBrain says:

    I went ahead and looked into the Origin EULA to see, specifically, what users are agreeing to when they install it. It doesn’t contain a lot of information – it’s actually a very short EULA – but it does contain this:
    “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
    http://www.ea.com. To the extent that anything in this section conflicts or is
    inconsistent with the terms of EA’s Privacy Policy, the terms of the Privacy Policy
    shall control.”

    Which means, of course, that the EA Privacy Policy is actually what dictates data collection for Origin. Other information contained in the Origin EULA is mostly meaningless.

    Well, naturally, I looked up the EA Privacy Policy. Here is a list of what data it allows EA to collect:

    “…cookies, IP addresses (including for purposes of determining your approximate geographic location), mobile or other hardware device ID, browser types, browser language, information passed from your browser (if any), referring and exit pages, and URLs, platform type, the number of clicks, information about your media, software and/or applications installed on your machine and/or device, domain names and types, landing pages, pages viewed and the order of those pages, the date and amount of time spent on particular pages, other Internet and website usage information, game state and the date and time of activity on our websites or games, information about how your game is used, including game metrics and statistics, feature usage and purchase history, as well as MAC Address, mobile unique device ID (if applicable) and other similar information.”

    Yeah, so, Origin is allowed to monitor pretty much every aspect of your computer. But don’t worry guys – EA assured me that it’s not spyware!

    • Lemming says:

      Holy crap! After I read ‘number of clicks..’ I almost expected to see ‘keystrokes’ as well. That’s treading a bit of a fine line between digital distribution system and bloody Keylogger, isn’t it?

    • Wahngrok says:

      This passage made me cancel the installation of Origin when I wanted to look at it a few weeks ago. I do not want to share with EA what web pages I’m looking at or which other software I am using. This is none of their business at all.

  31. chabuhi says:

    Ha! “Furore” … I see what you did there.

  32. AMonkey says:

    Anything to hurt Origin is a good thing.

  33. psyk says:

    Show me what data it’s sending off my machine because something that can’t send out data is a really shit peice of spyware.

  34. psyk says:

    Comment moderation system suck so bad, well I guess that’s what makes your comment disappear from the comment section but still show in the recent comment box, why can’t you use what most sites use and have a “your comment is under moderation” note appear on the comment? and why have it still show in recent comments?

  35. nimnio says:

    @Sheng-ji: Y’know who never has to say “My wife doesn’t complain about beatings”?

    People whose wives complain about beatings.

  36. Daniel Klein says:

    Oh, Germans. I love you for this, in a way, but this is also why I fled the country 4 years ago and haven’t looked back. This may only make sense if you’ve grown up in Germany, but this case highlights the attributes that are both best and worst about Germans.

    • mutopia says:

      You fled Germany because of their above average proactive stance against Stasi-esque practices regarding data collection and increasing public awareness about the issue? Even as one of your former neighbours I have to say that makes no sense whatsoever. I have a vague feeling you’re confusing Germany’s prude/puritan stance on videogames (and other things) with a genuinely promising development in political awareness; perhaps once they’ve figured out how wrong and dangerous it is for companies like EA to abuse meaningless EULAs to spy on people they will also remember how the Stasi (most of whom walked free, in fact, a lot of them are STILL IN POWER) terrorised and messed up a large part of Germany for decades, and come to realise governmental databases also aren’t magically immune to abuse (by any party) and hacking, and never will be, not even when quantum encryption becomes an option.

  37. BattleXer says:

    Origin seems to serve no other purpose than hogging disk space and report to EA about your various preferences:
    You don’t need it to play the game – it starts from your browser.
    You don’t need it to manage your stats, friends and all the other stuff associated with the game. You can do that in the browser.
    And the worst thing is that after you use Origin to open your browser, it will prevent your game from “logging into EA’s backend”.

    Now the question is: Who’s backend is being ‘logged into here? EA’s? The end user’s?

  38. MellowKrogoth says:

    In my opinion the outcry is perfectly justified:
    - We already know that EA has a system in place to scan your whole hard drive. That they don’t seem to be doing much with it or uploading anything for now doesn’t give any guarantees for future versions of Origin.
    - The EULA has very broad terms that allow stealth introduction of more monitoring features into Origin.
    - Once Origin starts uploading anything, you have to take into account not only data voluntarily gathered by EA and uploaded to their servers, but also any slipups that may happen. We’ve had hardware/software analysis software post all the serial keys of users to public web pages; we’ve had Sony not encrypting the passwords of its hundreds of thousands of users, and so on. I doubt EA is any better :P.
    - Any government would just have to use the excuse that they’re looking for child pornographers to force EA to surrender any private data accumulated this way – including the accidentally uploaded one. Oops. Or they could ask for their own private backdoor into Origin: the NSA tried to force TrueCrypt to include a backdoor/special key for them, so it’s not THAT far-fetched.
    - Also, hackers will want that data to sell it or just to make fun of you/give you cold sweats, and they’ll get it.
    - Uploading your financial data could very well happen if you happen to have a file in the same folder that Origin mistakes for a crack (antivirus programs never have false positives, right? right?), and then it uploads neighboring files (or even just the file list… file names are also confidential info) for examination.

    The short version is that giving a blank check to a program that can scan whatever it wants on your hard drive and retrieve anything it decides to – in exchange of a vague promise of “don’t worry we’ll be nice” – is an awfully bad idea. People getting used to this kind of program and saying it’s no big deal is an effective loss of liberty.

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