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EA's Origin may be a little too intrusive

by on25 August 2011 5275 times

originWow, file this one under both stupid and scary. It would seem that EA is seriously pushing the boundaries of acceptable behavior. Someone read the full EULA for this new service and has found a clause that is incredibly frightening. We went ahead and downloaded the installer and read and printed the EULA
Under a section marked “2. Consent to Collection and Use of Data”  we found the following;

“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. “

Now, many companies collect hardware and peripheral data along with the installed version of the OS for a customer, but to actually say that a user’s personal information can be used for marketing is a little bit much. We could not find anything that limited this use to EA alone. In fact in EA’s Privacy Policy  (section 5. On Third Party Ad Serving Technology) it says;

“We or third parties operating the advertisement serving technology may use demographic information such as age and gender as well as information logged from your hardware or device to ensure that appropriate advertising is presented within the site, online or mobile product or service and to calculate or control the number of unique and repeat views of a given ad, and/or deliver ads that relate to your interests and measure the effectiveness of ad campaigns. We or third parties may log data for this purpose including IP address (including for purposes of determining your approximate geographic location), unique device I.D., information about your software, applications and hardware, browser information (and/or information passed via your browser), hardware, machine or device make and model, advertisement(s) served, in game location, length of time an advertisement was visible, other Internet and website usage information, web pages and mobile internet sites which have been viewed by you (as well as date and time), domain type, size of the advertisement, advertisement response (if any), and angle of view. The foregoing data may be used and disclosed per this policy and the privacy policy of the company providing the ad serving technology and to other third parties in a form that does not personally identify you.”


EA then goes on to say “EA will never share your personal information with third parties without your consent. We may, however, share anonymous, non-personal, aggregated and/or public information with third parties. There may be circumstances where you may share information on your own. Please see section XI for more details about your rights to information you share publicly on EA and other third party sites and forums. You may also opt in to allow EA to share your personal information with companies and organizations that provide products or services that we believe may be of interest to you. To opt out of further communications from a marketing partner or sponsor with whom your information has been shared, please contact that partner or sponsor directly.”

The hitch here is that by clicking on the “I agree” check box you are giving your consent.  We wonder how many people will be ok with this once they take a look at all of the facts. We will also be looking at EULA’s from other software distribution companies to see if theirs are any better in the next few days and will let you know what we find. For now we would advise people to take caution with Origin, it is not only the online content distribution application, but the replacement for the EA Downloader for patches and updates… This makes me consider removing some of the EA games that I have.  

The Whole EULA can be seen on our forum in PDF format

Last modified on 25 August 2011
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