EA Germany: "Origin Is Not Spyware"

Hevva

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Aug 2, 2011
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EA Germany: "Origin Is Not Spyware"



EA Germany has denied claims made by German gamers and journalists that its Origin service is invading their privacy.

Germany's privacy laws are amongst the toughest in the Western world. It should come as no surprise that EA's Origin service - which is mandatory for gamers wishing to play Battlefield 3 on PC, and has banning the Facebook "Like" button. [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/112559-Internet-Explodes-Over-Origins-Invasion-of-Privacy] German gamers are taking the situation pretty seriously.

The furore began a few days ago, when pictures that appeared to show Origin accessing non-related programs and data synced from cell phones were released online. Der Spiegel, one of the biggest newspapers in Germany, responded by printing Amazon.de [http://tos.ea.com/legalapp/eula/DE/de/ORIGIN/] rating down to one of the lowest on the site and returning their store-bought copies of the game. In an unusual move that illustrates the seriousness of this situation, high street giants Saturn and Media Markt have both started giving customers full refunds on used copies of the game, even those with used PC keys.

Now EA Germany has responded by updating Origin's EULA to ensure both "clarity" and "legal compliance." In a statement, the company said that, "EA takes the privacy of its users very seriously. We have taken every precaution to protect the personal and anonymous user data collected."

"We do not have access to information such as pictures, documents or personal data, which have nothing to do with the execution of the Origin program on the system of the player, neither will they be collected by us," it continued. "We have updated the End User License Agreement of Origin, in the interests of our players to create more clarity."

The statement also notes that Origin's privacy policies are "industry-standard" and that the company intends to work with "the relevant Government agencies to ensure that our policies are and remain legally compliant."

If the comments on Battlefield 3's Amazon.de page are anything to go by, German gamers are genuinely outraged by Origin's snooping activities. Many of the comments are lengthy diatribes written in German so angry that Google Translate is rendered almost useless (the one thing that is clear, though, is the repeated phrase "Nein danke" - "No thanks"). Understandably, many of them say that they just want to play their games without having to give EA access to their system data. There's a wider debate to be had over whether or not companies should highlight these parts of their EULAs, and about whether or not they should be forcing people to sign up for them just to access widely-anticipated titles. We'll keep an eye out for developments, but right now, these German gamers have made their thoughts abundantly clear.



Source: Eurogamer [http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-11-01-ea-denies-origin-spying-on-battlefield-3-users]



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Dogstile

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Jan 17, 2009
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Good on them. I'm against it purely because they're making you sign up for a service to play a damn game but other reasons are good I suppose.
 

Kenjitsuka

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Sep 10, 2009
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"when pictures that appeared to show Origin accessing non-related programs and data synced from cell phones were released online"

This is in the EULA, and that has been extremely well documented BEFORE it went into the 'wild'.
So these complainers can find gaming websites to cry foul, but neglect to read up on this outrageous spying before buying? Strange!
 

GiantRedButton

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Mar 30, 2009
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If the snooping activities are against the law anyway, the EULA is meaningless, As anything that is against the law cant be changed by EULA.
So the only case where the eula protects the company is when it doesnt need a eula anyway.
So if EA is snooping, it is considered to be at the same level as other maleware for german courts.
 

Sonicron

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Mar 11, 2009
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Whatever you say, EA. I'll believe it when I see irrefutable evidence that your software does not spy on me in any way. The state commissioner of Nordrhein-Westfalen is coming to get answers with a metaphorical rubber glove, so lube up and bend over; until the presentation of conclusive evidence, any PR comments of yours are nothing but hot air to me.
 

Femaref

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Kenjitsuka said:
"when pictures that appeared to show Origin accessing non-related programs and data synced from cell phones were released online"

This is in the EULA, and that has been extremely well documented BEFORE it went into the 'wild'.
So these complainers can find gaming websites to cry foul, but neglect to read up on this outrageous spying before buying? Strange!
Yes, of course it is in the EULA. However, the EULA isn't lawful either in germany, as you must know (on the box or whatever) beforehand what you are going to sign. Also, the EULA isn't allowed to break the law either, and while lobbyists are continiously trying to destroy them, the german privacy laws are quite good and prevent such things. What origin is doing is not lawful in any sense, and no amount of EULA will change that.


On another note: it is "Der Spiegel", not "Der Speigel". "Spiegel" means mirror.

Sonicron said:
Whatever you say, EA. I'll believe it when I see irrefutable evidence that your software does not spy on me in any way. The state commissioner of Nordrhein-Westfalen is coming to get answers with a metaphorical rubber glove, so lube up and bend over; until the presentation of conclusive evidence, any PR comments of yours are nothing but hot air to me.
You can't really prove the absence of something in a software, especially closed source ones. EA can say all the want, it is no proof. Also, even if origin were open source, you could only trust it if you read, understand and compile the source yourself, which nobody would do.
 

dickywebster

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Last i heard, origin basically could access everything on your computer and everything you did or had done on it too, i dont know if this was just scare mongering, but if its even partly true im surprised only germany is taking issue with this.

But then all i ever hear about origins is how it seems to ignore little things like laws and privacy...
 

MetroidNut

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Sep 2, 2009
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This is very good to see; Origin is spyware, and German gamers are displaying their righteous outrage over it!

I'm less ecstatic that I don't see any such reactions here in suburban America. In fact, most reactions seem to be along the lines of "I think they slightly altered the EULA or something, who cares it's Battlefield 3."
 

silverbullet1989

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sigh... this again... im sorry but i couldnt care less what origin does.. i have a facebook acount, i have a steam acount, i have a itunes acount, my info is prob passed around all over from those companies yet origin keeps taking the flak for something that just about every other company does
 

Alarion

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Apr 15, 2009
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There's been an image circulating in Germany of Origin accessing tax forms on a computer - though as to whether it's legit I cannot say. Still, the press here is really abysmal for EA, and rightfully so - even the Terms of Service alone are worthy of every bit of bad press.
 

draythefingerless

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As for being in the EU, i was unaware we suffered the same data collection treatment. To my knowledge, this was only put into effect in the US soil. It was that or something else...i dun remember.
 

Sonicron

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Mar 11, 2009
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Femaref said:
Sonicron said:
Whatever you say, EA. I'll believe it when I see irrefutable evidence that your software does not spy on me in any way. The state commissioner of Nordrhein-Westfalen is coming to get answers with a metaphorical rubber glove, so lube up and bend over; until the presentation of conclusive evidence, any PR comments of yours are nothing but hot air to me.
You can't really prove the absence of something in a software, especially closed source ones. EA can say all the want, it is no proof. Also, even if origin were open source, you could only trust it if you read, understand and compile the source yourself, which nobody would do.
There will be folks whose job it is to determine whether Origin is playing fair or not. Don't tell me it can't be done - it can. And it will.
This is now a legal matter, and if it is determined Origin's methods constitute foul play, heads will roll. The evidence will be presented fully (anything else would not be accepted, seeing how this matter has garnered attention from the media), and I'll make any further decisions based on that.
 
Feb 13, 2008
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Alarion said:
There's been an image circulating in Germany of Origin accessing tax forms on a computer - though as to whether it's legit I cannot say. Still, the press here is really abysmal for EA, and rightfully so - even the Terms of Service alone are worthy of every bit of bad press.
This one?

http://s1.directupload.net/file/d/2691/fglehhsj_jpg.htm
 

Femaref

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May 4, 2008
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silverbullet1989 said:
sigh... this again... im sorry but i couldnt care less what origin does.. i have a facebook acount, i have a steam acount, i have a itunes acount, my info is prob passed around all over from those companies yet origin keeps taking the flak for something that just about every other company does
There is a difference between that. Facebook? You are willingly giving the information to them for a service. Steam? You are asked if you want to upload the information, again willingly aggreing. Same with iTunes. Origin however simply leeches the information of you, with you having no say in it. For me (as a professional programmer) that is the definition of spyware.
 

Catalyst6

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Apr 21, 2010
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By the Old Ones, EA, you just can't get anything right, can you? BF3 has just been one horrible design choice after another. Which is a shame, because the actual *game* is competently done. It's just all the higher-ups that are making it horrible.

Gotta say, I'm not saddened that BF3 is failing so hard. Serves 'em right.

On an aside, everyone knows that German EA only releases Medicware, gentlemen.
 

Areani

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Dec 18, 2008
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I find it funny how there's an issue now with people unable to join matches on BF3, and one of the causes is that their anti-spyware programs are blocking Origin and BF3. And now this. Funny.
 

John Mandrake

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Apr 3, 2010
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all i have to say about privacy issues is:
sandboxing FTW!
or just blocking it from touching anything but 256 MB of its folder...
or running it in virtual machine