So we should not be very surprised at all when EA’s Origin (like a Steam thingy) was discovered to have an extreme invasion of privacy clause in its EULA.  Some folks over at The Escapist happened to spot the following legal blurb in the End User Agreement (you know, those things that nobody ever 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 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.

What does this mean?  Well, it’s probably the single most intrusive software agreement you could ever possibly agree to using.  It gives EA full access to everything you do on your computer, such as what hardware or peripherals you install, what software you install, AND WHAT YOU DO WITH THAT SOFTWARE.  But wait!  There’s MORE!  Not only do they use this information to “improve the quality of your gaming experiences”, they WILL also SELL your information to 3rd party vendors.  It’s absolutely amazing that they thought they could get away with this!  There’s a word for what this is… SPYWARE!  In no bizarre alternate universe is this at all ethical.

Now, many people say “oh, Steam does the same thing”, but I’ve read the Steam agreement, it says they only collect data from their games for their purpose.  True, they could be lieing, but ya know, at face value, it’s not the same as Origin.  It’s one thing to collect data about YOUR games for YOUR own purposes, but it’s another thing to collect ALL data about your users and habits and SELL that information with others.

Actually, if I went out, rummaged through peoples trash, their computer, their receipts, their activities… it would be called stalking!  Which, if I understand the law correctly, is pretty darn illegal.  “But Shawn, it says very clearly, when you install the game, you give your full consent” yes, while this is true, that does not mean it’s right.  Many contracts you sign have a stipulation that states something to the effect of “if this agreement conflicts with local, state, or national laws, those laws will take precedence and the ones in the contract are null and void.”  So, if I sign a contract that says the contractor may kill me should I not play at least 20 hours of PacMan a week, then that does not give the contractor the right to murder the contractee.  Does that make sense?  Just because it’s in a contract, doesn’t make it absolutely binding.  Well, in a perfect world that’s how it would work…

However, there’s a rub… the companies have been fighting this reasoning for years, stating that it’s in the contract and thus, legal.  Though there have been action taken against contracts that have this “stalking agreement” hidden in legal jargon or lengthy documents, but I’m not sure this has really helped curb the unethical activities of companies like EA.  And yes, I’m calling them out.  EA not only treats its customers like thieves with its DRM coupons to prevent used game sales, but now this?  (but that drm thing will be another comic for another day)

Anyways, the only way to really combat this is to NOT INSTALL THE GAMES!  Don’t buy it!  Don’t buy any Origin games or content.  Do not install it at all.  Just get Steam and be happy with the lesser evil.  That, or find way of suppressing that bit of programming…  Maybe something like Spybot.  Though I’m sure some programmer type will figure a way to keep us safe.

If you really REALLY want to combat it.  Write your congressperson, tell them how you feel about contracted cyber stalking!  If we rise up as a national voice (and even global) and express our anger, then maybe we can shape our own future.  We CAN change laws.  They are there to protect the people.  These gaming companies (Electronic Arts) are using gaps in the legal system to exploit you.  You should be pissed!  So lets fight back!

Source: The Escapist

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