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EA's Origin Service Is Basically Spyware, According to Origin's EULA

Agreeing to Origin's TOS effectively gives EA permission to track all manner of bizarre information about your computing habits, and sell them to third parties.

Because today's trifecta of corporate malfeasance and/or generally shitty behavior wouldn't be complete without mentioning something awful EA is doing, let's talk about Origin again. Specifically, how it apparently includes spyware.

You guys? We REALLY need to start reading these EULAs ahead of time.

Once again reminding us all that we really ought to be reading these terms of service that we so often blindly agree to, intrepid users of Origin have discovered within EA's End User License Agreement for the service that, by installing the software on the system and using it, you are giving EA full license to track a number of different things on your computer, including, but not limited to personal information, computer information, application usage, software, software usage, and peripheral hardware usage. The reason for all of this is for the usual "marketing purposes" and "to improve our products and services" nonsense, but the EULA also states that EA will happily sell your information to any third parties it sees fit.

It's fair to point out that Valve's Steam service also does some of the things listed here when you use it. However, the trick is that Steam allows users to opt out of any and all such practices. Origin has no such opt-out feature, and in fact states that you cannot use the service at all unless you agree to their terms.

That does present quite the quandary for the information protective gamers out there who might want to play a game like, say, Battlefield 3 on their PC. Battlefield 3, alongside other EA PC titles, will require an install of Origin to operate, even if you buy a physical copy of the game.

In the end, this is actually a fairly fixable problem for EA. The publisher would simply need to patch in an opt-out option for any and all info scraping that Origin might be involved in. If it doesn't? Here's a deeply enraged Reddit thread that you might want to partake of.

Alex Navarro on Google+
247 Comments
Posted by Alex

Because today's trifecta of corporate malfeasance and/or generally shitty behavior wouldn't be complete without mentioning something awful EA is doing, let's talk about Origin again. Specifically, how it apparently includes spyware.

You guys? We REALLY need to start reading these EULAs ahead of time.

Once again reminding us all that we really ought to be reading these terms of service that we so often blindly agree to, intrepid users of Origin have discovered within EA's End User License Agreement for the service that, by installing the software on the system and using it, you are giving EA full license to track a number of different things on your computer, including, but not limited to personal information, computer information, application usage, software, software usage, and peripheral hardware usage. The reason for all of this is for the usual "marketing purposes" and "to improve our products and services" nonsense, but the EULA also states that EA will happily sell your information to any third parties it sees fit.

It's fair to point out that Valve's Steam service also does some of the things listed here when you use it. However, the trick is that Steam allows users to opt out of any and all such practices. Origin has no such opt-out feature, and in fact states that you cannot use the service at all unless you agree to their terms.

That does present quite the quandary for the information protective gamers out there who might want to play a game like, say, Battlefield 3 on their PC. Battlefield 3, alongside other EA PC titles, will require an install of Origin to operate, even if you buy a physical copy of the game.

In the end, this is actually a fairly fixable problem for EA. The publisher would simply need to patch in an opt-out option for any and all info scraping that Origin might be involved in. If it doesn't? Here's a deeply enraged Reddit thread that you might want to partake of.

Staff
Edited by NinjaCommando

Human Centipede :)

Posted by Tesla

I might have to start reading those EULAs.

Posted by David_T

I'd love to know when they went from "let's collect all this information" to "let's collect all this information and sell it".

Online
Edited by Cyborgmatt

I keep asking myself if BF3 is worth it, it gets worst everyday, damn you EA.

@NinjaCommando said:

asdfadsfasdf

Banned.

Posted by nick_verissimo

I think the bigger problem here is why the hell are people actually downloading Origin?!

Edited by css_switchfoot

and pirates come to the rescue once again

i hope if they do patch in the opt-out feature that some tech-savvy dude checks to make sure its actually not still collecting information.

Posted by VilhelmNielsen

Surprise, Origin sucks even before it's out.

Posted by Czarpyotr

Good thing I'm getting it on Xbox then.

Posted by PXAbstraction

Not that what EA is doing isn't scummy but if you use or have ever used Facebook, you've agreed to have far worse things done with your personal data that EA wants to do here and I guarantee you it's already been done multiple times. Almost every digital platform (including Steam though to a slightly lesser degree) has similar terms. If you hate this and use Facebook, you should drop Facebook immediately because they have more of your data and even less regard for it.

Posted by Subjugation

This is pathetic. Add an opt-out ability now. This is souring my interest in all EA products, BF3 included.

Posted by Franstone
@nick_verissimo said:

                I think the bigger problem here is why the hell are people actually downloading Origin?!
           

Had to do it to play the BF3 Alpha... 
: (
Posted by KillyDarko
@css_switchfoot said:

and pirates come to the rescue once again

Sad, but true :(
Posted by DonutFever

Today's news has been fucked up.

Posted by Vexxan

Fuck off, EA.

Posted by Spekingur

So, if you store your credit card information somewhere on your computer Origin might actually obtain that information? Heck, it might even get access to my bank information since here we will soon be using smartcard readers to access our online bank frontend thingy. Yay.

Posted by PenguinDust

The question I have is if I uninstall Origin, does the spyware also go away or is this one of those cases where even if I am not using the program, the traces keep tracking my webuse and send that data back to Big Brother?

Posted by spilledmilkfactory

EA's really trying to shoot themselves in the foot here. How do you expect to take down CoD with shit like this going on

Edited by Lazyaza

Wait wait wait... this means Mass Effect 3, even if bought at retail will require Origin?
 
Fuck... EA I hate you so much right now.

Posted by Bollard
@VilhelmNielsen said:

Surprise, Origin sucks even before it's out.

It came out like a month ago...
Posted by Milkman

Three new stories on the front page and all them revealing some sort of fucked up, horrible practice. This is a great industry.

Online
Edited by JoeyRavn

"Steam is no better" in 3... 2... 1...

Edit: Damn, this moves fast.

Posted by phrosnite

Does this mean it will know when I'm watching porn?

Posted by Shuborno

Wow, thanks for the heads-up. Uninstalling Origin when I get home, and I definitely am glad I haven't purchased anything through it.

How many of you gave Origin your Facebook info to find other users? Bet EA will sell the shit out of that info.

Posted by Ketchupp

Shit.

Posted by Sword5

Stop buying EA games. Less people do it every year, help the trend.

Posted by sixpin

But the best part is that... It's free!

Posted by CosmicQueso

@phrosnite said:

Does this mean it will know when I'm watching porn?

I think that is the big fear.

Posted by Sweep

Also, Origins is fucking useless, and their EA catalogue is fucking pathetic. Did you know that when you play Battlefield 3 it isn't even integrated with Origins, and that your Origins friend list and your Battlefield friends lists are completely separate? What fucking good is that! I know the same happens on steam but you would have thought they at least make it work with their own products.

If I wasn't so excited for Battlefield 3 I wouldn't even consider using this bullshit software.

Moderator
Posted by vonFlampanker

Our friend Bill Hicks had an opinion on this sort of thing:

"By the way if anyone here is in advertising or marketing... kill yourself.

No, no, no it's just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day, they'll take root - I don't know. You try, you do what you can. Kill yourself.

Seriously though, if you are, do.

Aaah, no really, there's no rationalisation for what you do and you are Satan's little helpers. Okay - kill yourself - seriously. You are the ruiner of all things good, seriously. No this is not a joke, you're going, "there's going to be a joke coming," there's no fucking joke coming. You are Satan's spawn filling the world with bile and garbage. You are fucked and you are fucking us. Kill yourself. It's the only way to save your fucking soul, kill yourself.

Posted by nukesniper

Hey, I'm not using Origin anymore. Cool? Cool. I'll stick to buying stuff on Steam where my games are already hanging out. Thanks, EA, for making the choice easier than it already was.

I don't mind everyone knowing what I'm playing, but EA set it up so they can make money off that information. That is direct in a way I don't like. Whatever, I'm not going to bitch. I'll just keep Origin turned off.

Posted by Elusionar

EA was alrady on my shit list along side SOE, Ubisoft ...
Posted by kibbs

It's honestly pretty funny how EA boasts that Battlefield 3 is on a competing level with Call of Duty and to be fair to them, I want it to be. This is apparently to be their title to take on Activision's franchise, yet it seems like EA has done nothing more than try to fuck itself over every step of the way. Honestly, this is the nail in the coffin for me, personally.

Posted by Cheesebob

Oh EA!!! You were doing so well! When did you come one of the most evil games companies going again?

Posted by VilhelmNielsen

@Chavtheworld said:

@VilhelmNielsen said:

Surprise, Origin sucks even before it's out.

It came out like a month ago...

The secret is it actually came out years ago, but name-changing totally changes everything, so now it doesn't suck when you buy your BF2 "booster packs".

Posted by artofwar420

Fuck everything about that.

Posted by MACog

Wounder if this is really why they are pulling stuff off Steam.

Posted by DarkbeatDK

If they are going to do that, I want the full monty.

I expect to be kidnapped on the street by masked men in a black truck and then find myself as a competitor in a twisted nightmare version of "The Running Man" filled with ridiculous amounts of colored lights, "Powered by Nvidia" messages and hosted by John Romero.

Posted by ryanwho

Someone defend this as good business practice lol

Posted by donaldkhogan

Thanks so much guys. Origin: uninstalled!

Posted by Altersparck
@biafrajello: BF3 was pulled from Steam because Steam's terms of service won't let EA push updates and sell DLC directly to players. This whole thing is just icing on the shit cake.
Posted by Altersparck

I usually have little pity or sympathy for PC gamers, but this Origin thing overcomes my well-developed sense of schadenfreude. It basically sucks to be a PC-based Battlefield, Dragon Age, or Mass Effect fan right now.

Posted by CrossTheAtlantic
@ryanwho said:
Someone defend this as good business practice lol
You don't get it. They're selling that information so they can better cater to you! Don't you want all your internet traffic integrated into targeted ads? This is the future!
Edited by ryanwho
@CrossTheAtlantic said:

@ryanwho said:

Someone defend this as good business practice lol
You don't get it. They're selling that information so they can better cater to you! Don't you want all your internet traffic integrated into targeted ads? This is the future!
Man I never get it.
Edited by Donos

Just gonna throw this out here.... I don't actually care? EA already has my email and credit card, what else can they find out that could actually impact my life? I understand the general sentiment of wanting to keep information about your habits to yourself, but when you really think about it what can anyone actually do with the information on your computer?

That said, the second someone can use this access to affect my life, I will burn their house down with a fucking lemon.

Edited by MajorToms

@vonFlampanker: I love Bill Hicks, but if anything is more fitting, I think it would be his bit on the docile masses. We just agree to whatever EULA corporations throw in front of us, despite the ramifications, to get what they're dangling on the stick.

We do it because... WE ARE THE DOCILE MASSES. We're the puppet people, put it on our TV it's true. Put it on our TV it's true! We're the puppet people! Come and guide us you fucking scum. Go back to bed. (Play your video games.)

Posted by Nottle

So wait, how do I stop steam from doing that?

Posted by MayorFeedback

The heck is going on today.

Did you know it's legal on a federal level for a state to sell its resident's drivers license information? I live in Florida and they make, like, $70 million a year selling names and addresses and such to advertisers. Progress!

Posted by xtiara

Nailing these articles Alex! You're at your best when you're talking about shitty companies with your snark.

Posted by Skogen

It looks like EA is trying to take its title of "Biggest Asshole Publisher" back from Activision.