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  1. #1
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    Origin Spyware Issue

    This should concern all PC gamers. I'm not fan of quoting, but I doubt too many people would follow a reddit link.
    "As many of you already know, EA's Origin digital distribution system will be doing such nasty invasion-of-privacy things as snooping around your hard drive and observing what you do on your computer all day. EA Origin is required in all copies (even hard copies) of games such as Battlefield 3.
    Raise awareness of Origin's privacy violation. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is. Raising awareness of this issue would be 100x more effective than a silent 1% "voting with their wallets".
    Contact EA. Send them an email. Better yet, send them a physical letter. Contact gaming sites, tell them about your concerns and that you extremely disapprove of this privacy violation. With enough flow of such letters, we might be able to make a change.
    P.S. Let's try not to use cookie-cutter copy'n'paste emails. Even a one-liner email would be great, certainly better than spamming them with the same thing over and over. It's the thought that counts anyway :)"

    To read the rest go to the post. http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comme...ycotting_will/

    I may get slammed for this post, but I care not. RPS is champion of PC gamers and this is pressing concern. Just doing my part to spread the word.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lokai View Post
    "As many of you already know, EA's Origin digital distribution system will be doing such nasty invasion-of-privacy things as snooping around your hard drive and observing what you do on your computer all day.
    Wait what?

    If that's true you're right it is horrendous but the article you link to isn't sourced? Is there any evidence for this or are people making wild assumptions again?

  3. #3
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    Is again a problem with the Origin EULA, I think. Is not a problem (not yet) with the application itself... .but such distinction is somewhat moot point, as the next update could add the feature withouth further notice, you already opt-in on it.

    Is somewhat funny how bad is EA at this thing. I don't think EA even know the rules of the "game". EA has bad temper and bad beavior... and this is Ok if you work on the warehouse and you don't have direct contact with the public. But a digital download shop is a thing of intimacy, and you want the owners to be your friends, and trust then. Is because you depend on then totally, and you don't want to depend on jerks. EA inhability to make this relation is hilarious.

    This also explain why we get this type of internet reactions. People do love Steam, and Steam is "his friend" (?), so must defend Steam.

    Then, there are people with rigid political agendas, and for some people a invasion of the privacy is a big issue. For these people this is EA shotting his own foot.

    I don't think a company like EA can have a digital download shop, and this type of problems confirm it. But maybe I am wrong and building confirmation bias.. ? :P

  4. #4
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    Here are your sources, http://forums.mariosworld.org/showthread.php?p=537 and the origin thread discussing it http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comme...hes_you_sleep/.

    Here is the section of the Origin EULA that is subject to question.

    "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 EAs Privacy Policy located at www.ea.com. To the extent that anything in this section conflicts with the terms of EAs Privacy Policy, the terms of the Privacy Policy shall control. "

  5. #5
    Lesser Hivemind Node icupnimpn2's Avatar
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    It looks like EA is just making overt their intention to collect data for utilization statistics and etc. It does not sound too different from what Steam does. Steam just doesn't give you notification of what they're collecting in the EULA. The only major difference is that Steam does its hardware surveys monthly as opt-in and EA wants to be able to do theirs whenever.

    From Wikipedia:
    Statistics collection

    Steam collects and reports anonymous metrics of its usage, stability, and performance.[25] With the exception of Valve's hardware survey,[26] most collection occurs without notifying the user or offering an opt-out. Some of these metrics are available publicly, such as what games are being played or statistics on player progress in certain games.[27] Valve has also used information from these statistics to justify implementing new features in Steam, such as the addition of a defragmentation option for game caches.[28] Valve announced on July 15, 2010 that in conjunction with collecting hardware information in Steam's opt-in hardware surveys, they would begin collecting a list of the user's installed software as well.[29]
    And in fact Steam's separate privacy policy mentions:
    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.

  6. #6
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    I'll just paste here what I said on that Reddit thread:

    This is less of a dick move than having an EULA that is 3 lines and has the "we may revisit the EULA at any point in time". It's all about vendor lock-in.

    You see, if you have an EULA that is three lines long, people may buy things from your service. They'll happily live in their bubble of happiness, until you decide that you need some information from your users. Stuff like how they use the software, or what other software they have installed, so that you can improve your own software. Unfortunately, you'll then need to update your EULA to reflect this. You issue a new EULA and notice everyone of the new EULA via some message that appears with an update notice of your software. This notice will tell them that they can either resign and stop using your software, or they can continue using it and implicitly accept your new EULA..

    ..This is where I see an issue. You see, you're essentially forcing your users to accept the new EULA. They've bought a few games through your software (>200 euros), and if they do not accept your new EULA they lose access to ALL THEIR GAMES, and thus their 200 euros. None of these users who take an issue with this usage data thing were notified of it potentially being there in the future when they originally signed up, but they're definitively getting bitten by it either way.

    That's the big thing here. EA is covering their own asses, and essentially saying that they reserve the right to bite you in the ass in the future.

    Companies that do not have this similar clause still reserve the right to bite you in the ass in the future, through that 'we may update the EULA at any time' clause, but you wouldn't know about it when you originally signed up and not accepting this newer EULA would be a stupid thing to do because you'll actually lose money (purchased goods).

    You won't lose any money by not accepting this verbose EULA from EA. If you accept it, you know what you're potentially signing up for. If you accept an EULA that is three lines long yet contains a 'we may update it' clause, you don't know what you're signing up for.

    TL;DR: This EULA and most EULAs contain a "we may change this EULA at any time" clause which pretty much means that they're reserving the right to bite you in the ass, even if this clause that people moan about wasn't in there. Having a very verbose and 'evil' EULA when you sign up for a service is therefore much less a dick move than having a very short and 'non-evil' EULA, because people will be better able to decide if they want to accept the EULA.

    EDIT: it also says may collect, not does collect. Huge difference.
    Last edited by Megagun; 24-08-2011 at 11:32 AM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tei View Post
    Then, there are people with rigid political agendas, and for some people a invasion of the privacy is a big issue. For these people this is EA shotting his own foot.

    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.


    Only difference is the opt-out for "Personally identifiable information". Valve even reserves the right to share this personally identifiable information with 3rd parties should you allow them to collect it.

    But hey, it's Steam! They have those awesome sales so nobody cares.

    // Privacy is something most people talk a lot about but in reality hardly anybody really cares.
    Last edited by Xian; 24-08-2011 at 11:35 AM.

  8. #8
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    Also anyone playing WoW has stuff that actively monitors what you do while you play it already running. This might also be related to some of similar function for The Old Republic - Warden tracks processes to try and stop botting and non-allowed add-ons.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xian View Post
    [I]

    // Privacy is something most people talk a lot about but in reality hardly anybody really cares.

    Anyway you can have privacy and still share secrets with people you trust, like your wife, your dog or steam. But you may not want to share secrets with EA. So *who* are you sharing secrets is important too.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by icupnimpn2 View Post
    It looks like EA is just making overt their intention to collect data for utilization statistics and etc.
    It's been a standard clause in their EULA since the Sims 2 was released, which is when they started doing it. So yeah, that horse bolted about seven years ago ...

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lukasz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xian View Post

    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.


    Only difference is the opt-out for "Personally identifiable information". Valve even reserves the right to share this personally identifiable information with 3rd parties should you allow them to collect it.

    But hey, it's Steam! They have those awesome sales so nobody cares.

    // Privacy is something most people talk a lot about but in reality hardly anybody really cares.
    yeah. that's the good part.

    i can understand people not liking that. i don't particularly care although it is a bit iffy and should not take place (taking an anonymous survey of hardware is good imo)

    it is a bit of irritating when people believe it is something new tough. like the good pals at valve hadn't been doing it for years.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Althea's Avatar
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    So, basically, this is a great big non-issue, at least in the terms that it's absolutely nothing new or unknown?


  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megagun View Post
    I'll just paste here what I said on that Reddit thread:

    This is less of a dick move than having an EULA that is 3 lines and has the "we may revisit the EULA at any point in time". It's all about vendor lock-in.

    You see, if you have an EULA that is three lines long, people may buy things from your service. They'll happily live in their bubble of happiness, until you decide that you need some information from your users. Stuff like how they use the software, or what other software they have installed, so that you can improve your own software. Unfortunately, you'll then need to update your EULA to reflect this. You issue a new EULA and notice everyone of the new EULA via some message that appears with an update notice of your software. This notice will tell them that they can either resign and stop using your software, or they can continue using it and implicitly accept your new EULA..

    ..This is where I see an issue. You see, you're essentially forcing your users to accept the new EULA. They've bought a few games through your software (>200 euros), and if they do not accept your new EULA they lose access to ALL THEIR GAMES, and thus their 200 euros. None of these users who take an issue with this usage data thing were notified of it potentially being there in the future when they originally signed up, but they're definitively getting bitten by it either way.

    That's the big thing here. EA is covering their own asses, and essentially saying that they reserve the right to bite you in the ass in the future.

    Companies that do not have this similar clause still reserve the right to bite you in the ass in the future, through that 'we may update the EULA at any time' clause, but you wouldn't know about it when you originally signed up and not accepting this newer EULA would be a stupid thing to do because you'll actually lose money (purchased goods).

    You won't lose any money by not accepting this verbose EULA from EA. If you accept it, you know what you're potentially signing up for. If you accept an EULA that is three lines long yet contains a 'we may update it' clause, you don't know what you're signing up for.

    TL;DR: This EULA and most EULAs contain a "we may change this EULA at any time" clause which pretty much means that they're reserving the right to bite you in the ass, even if this clause that people moan about wasn't in there. Having a very verbose and 'evil' EULA when you sign up for a service is therefore much less a dick move than having a very short and 'non-evil' EULA, because people will be better able to decide if they want to accept the EULA.

    EDIT: it also says may collect, not does collect. Huge difference.
    Translation: when you allow a service like Origin or Steam onto your PC for the privilege of giving their vendors money, you're essentially bending over and hoping that they don't make it hurt too much. If they deign to allow you to play the game at all having taken your money you should be thankful for that.
    Last edited by Rii; 24-08-2011 at 12:54 PM.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Unaco's Avatar
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    I've seen a couple posts and threads about this, since it came up yesterday. Origin will watch you sleep... Origin will tell the Police if you have pirated Software on your machine... Origin is just Spyware... Origin will know you've been looking at deviant porn and will tell your mother/girlfriend... It was Origin that shot MLK and JFK, and Louis CK (actually that last one is only in the planning phases thus far). It'll know everything about you, and will use that information to make money and to f*ck you over.

    This comes from the EULA though. Something written by Lawyers, to protect EAs rear-end if someone wants to sue. It's also been a standard part of the EA EULA for YEARS! So, if you've installed any game related to EA in the last few years, you've already agreed to this. It's also very similar to STEAMs EULA. As people have said above, they collect information on you, they sell it to 3rd parties. There are also equally scary passages in the STEAM EULA about other things. If you agreed to STEAMs EULA, you've already agreed to this (and much, much worse).

    What it likely is, is that Origin will scan and know what EA/Origin games you have, what saves/characters can be imported (ME2 saves -> ME3), what expansion packs and DLC you have, what updates and patches and fixes are required, your system specs (so they can maybe tailor their games requirements to the best market proportion)... and this overreaching in the EULA is to cover their arse! To make sure that, if their toe goes over the line, they'll be covered. Hence, it says they MIGHT, not they WILL do all of this scanning.

    It's just lawyers covering EAs arse. They'll be doing legitimate scanning, and looking at legitimate information about you. Steam does the same, and EA have been saying the same thing for years. It's no biggie.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hypernetic View Post
    I just have an opinion different to your own. Circle jerking is good for no one, be glad somebody isn't afraid to disagree with women on the internet.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hypernetic View Post
    No, you are literally the cancer that is killing gaming.
    Quote Originally Posted by Serenegoose View Post
    Nobody's ever lost sleep over being called a cracker.

  15. #15
    Network Hub Megagun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unaco View Post
    What it likely is, is that Origin will scan and know what EA/Origin games you have, what saves/characters can be imported (ME2 saves -> ME3), what expansion packs and DLC you have, what updates and patches and fixes are required, your system specs (so they can maybe tailor their games requirements to the best market proportion)... and this overreaching in the EULA is to cover their arse! To make sure that, if their toe goes over the line, they'll be covered. Hence, it says they MIGHT, not they WILL do all of this scanning.
    Yep, this exactly.

    When I bought Crysis 2 and activated it on Origin, I had a not completely legal version of it installed. Origin automatically detected that I had already installed it, and started applying a patch to my the version I had already installed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rii View Post
    Translation: when you allow a service like Origin or Steam onto your PC for the privilege of giving their vendors money, you're essentially bending over and hoping that they don't make it hurt too much. If they deign to allow you to play the game at all having taken your money you should be thankful for that.
    Indeed.

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Unaco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rii View Post
    Translation: when you allow a service like Origin or Steam onto your PC for the privilege of giving their vendors money, you're essentially bending over and hoping that they don't make it hurt too much. If they deign to allow you to play the game at all having taken your money you should be thankful for that.
    Not really, I think your interpretation and understanding of the market/business is a little skewed here.

    Yes, you've agreed to the EULA, and all the horrors it contains... but EULAs are still a legal grey area, they have problems reaching across different regions and countries. They aren't a definite thing. And, whoever it is, STEAM or EA, are unlikely to get you to sign up to their service and then start f*ucking you, even though you may have given them permission when you agreed to the EULA. When/If they start f*cking you, threads start going up on forums, on reddit, articles on RPS and on Slashdot... people start investigating, and start uncovering all the f*cking going on... and, even though that f*cking might be legally OK, because you agreed to the EULA, people find out about it and stop using that software.

    So yes... they may have the (untested) Legal right to f*ck you, but they won't do it... because if they do, they're shooting themselves in the foot. They won't do it, because it would be a disaster for them. And, just as an example, I've had STEAM for ~7 years and haven't felt the slightest touch on my cheeks. All STEAM users have, as you put it, bent over... but none of us have been taken roughly from behind.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hypernetic View Post
    I just have an opinion different to your own. Circle jerking is good for no one, be glad somebody isn't afraid to disagree with women on the internet.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hypernetic View Post
    No, you are literally the cancer that is killing gaming.
    Quote Originally Posted by Serenegoose View Post
    Nobody's ever lost sleep over being called a cracker.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unaco View Post
    I think your interpretation and understanding of the market/business is a little skewed here.
    I think you'll find that it isn't.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Unaco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rii View Post
    I think you'll find that it isn't.
    So what? Are Valve just waiting 'til more people have STEAM installed before they're going to start f*cking us? Or, are they not going to start f*cking us, because is they did, they'd see the number of people using STEAM plummet?

    Edit I - Just because a company CAN do something, doesn't mean they WILL do it. Doing it could be so negative for them, it far outweighs any 'good' they get from doing it. It wouldn't make 'business sense' for them to do it.

    Edit II - Just as an example... MineCraft's EULA is one of those that states "We reserve the right to change this agreement at any time with or without notice, with immediate and/or retroactive effect." Mojang can basically change their EULA at any time, demand the first born children of EVERYONE who has bought MineCraft and agreed to the EULA. Why haven't they? They have the power to do it... they could set themselves up as some sort of Gods. But they haven't done it... Because if they did, it probably wouldn't go well for them. It's the same with EA/Valve. They would be incredibly stupid to start blatantly f*cking over customers and doing all this insidious shit people are worrying about.
    Last edited by Unaco; 24-08-2011 at 12:36 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hypernetic View Post
    I just have an opinion different to your own. Circle jerking is good for no one, be glad somebody isn't afraid to disagree with women on the internet.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hypernetic View Post
    No, you are literally the cancer that is killing gaming.
    Quote Originally Posted by Serenegoose View Post
    Nobody's ever lost sleep over being called a cracker.

  19. #19
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    I am webmaster, and I am often asked to fill the EULA myself on some websites I create. What I do, and lots of other webmasters, is to copy & paste the EULA from other website. I have some experience with the legal system (I still IANAL) so I don't do mayor mistakes, but I am still angry that *I*, has artist and programer, I am the one that have to decide on a legal text. I am tempted to add some easter egg... but I don't do that, because I am a professional.


    I am not suprised if lawyers don't read EULA's, just copy & paste eulas around, using then like templates.

    LOL, there are "EULA generators" on the internet, so you can fill a few box, and the legal text is generated.
    http://factoidz.com/best-free-enduse...ula-generator/

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unaco View Post
    Edit I - Just because a company CAN do something, doesn't mean they WILL do it. Doing it could be so negative for them, it far outweighs any 'good' they get from doing it. It wouldn't make 'business sense' for them to do it.
    And if only examples of industry retardation and consumer apathy in the face of the continued erosion of their rights didn't litter the ground like leaves in autumn I might have more faith in the eternal and infinite omnipotence, omniscience and benevolence of the Lords our God EA, Valve, et al.
    Last edited by Rii; 24-08-2011 at 01:01 PM.

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