A look at the EA/Origin privacy issue

#1 Posted by FrankCanada97 (4187 posts) -

Mods, if you think this belongs in the news article thread or other threads regarding this, please let me know before locking. This post is merely an informational one.
The latest news of Origin and EA spying on you, getting your personal info and selling it has some people understandably unnerved. I decided to take a look at the Origin EULA as well as EA's Privacy Policy. I posted below the relevant texts for others to view and interpret themselves.
First the Origin EULA, I've quoted below the entire relevant section concerning the "Collection and use of data":

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 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.

Yes, it seems that Origin would be collecting some information from your computer. However, nowhere in this section (or anywhere else in this EULA) does it state or suggest that EA "will happily sell your information to third parties as it sees fit." It does say that it may "share data with their third party service providers in a form that does not personally identify you." The EULA states that data obtained from Origin would be done so in accordance to EA's own Privacy Policy.
What does this privacy policy entail? I looked up the EA Privacy Policy and have quoted the relevant sections below.
First, what EA collects in regards to personal information and when they would collect it:

III. What Is Personal Information And When Does EA Collect It?

EA collects both personal and non-personal consumer information. Personal information collected by EA is discussed below in this section. Non-personal information is discussed below in Section IV.

Personal information is information that identifies you and that may be used to contact you on-line or off-line. EA may collect personal information from our online visitors during:

  • Contest registration and prize acceptance;
  • Warranty registration and requests;
  • Customer support and/or technical service requests;
  • Player match up and other head-to-head online competitions;
  • Registration for games and/or special game-specific events;
  • Newsletter subscriptions, referral services, and other marketing surveys and email campaigns;
  • Registration for EA and/or other service accounts;
  • Creation of a personal profile;
  • Product, service and/or subscription orders;
  • Service requests from third party service providers on our site;
  • Access to our products and/or services on social networks or other third party services; and
  • Otherwise through use of our software, mobile or online services where personal information is required for use and/or participation.

Information collected will vary depending upon the activity and may include your name, email address, phone number, home address, birth date, mobile phone number and credit card information. Visitors to EA Mobile may be asked to provide the name of their mobile service carrier, model of their mobile phone and a valid mobile number so that we may provide purchase instructions directly to their mobile phone. In that context, your mobile number will only be used to send you a text message with a link to download your game and will not be retained for any other purpose. Prize winners may be required to provide their Social Security or other identification number for tax purposes, and will be used only for prize fulfillment.

And what does EA do with this information? It is revealed in the below section:

VI. What Happens To The Information EA Collects?

A. How EA Uses Your Information

EA uses your information to fulfill your specific requests, purchase orders and to send you purchase confirmation and other account-related information. In addition, the personal information you provide will allow us to send you messages about things including new products, features, enhancements, special offers, upgrade opportunities, contests and events of interest. You may also later opt out of certain of these communications.

Otherwise, EA uses personal and non-personal information, both individually and combined together, to better understand the behavior and preferences of our customers, to troubleshoot technical problems, to serve static and dynamic advertising, to enforce our Terms of Service, to ensure proper functioning of our products and services as well as to help improve them. In addition, we combine non-personal information with personal information, such as an email address, to administer loyalty programs, tailor our offerings, web pages or game play experience to you.

By use of friend finder tools such as Facebook, Game Center or other third party services in our online products and services including mobile, you acknowledge that use of these friend finder tools will help you find your contacts and will also allow your contacts to associate your EA Account, also known as an Origin Account, (and related gaming entitlements, including games played on PC, mobile and console platforms) with your social networking profile and/or email address. Your resulting friends’ list, which may be accessible across EA social platforms as available, will be subject to this privacy policy. Note that the friends that you choose to include on any EA or Origin friends’ list may be able to find and/or identify you in the context of different EA products and services. Choose your friends carefully.

If you choose to use our referral service to "Tell a Friend" about an EA product or site, we will ask you for your friend’s name and email address. We will send your friend an email on your behalf inviting him or her to visit the site or check out our product. EA stores your friend's name and email for a short period for the sole purpose of sending this email and for redundancy checking, to be sure that your friend does not receive multiple copies of the same email message. We do not keep or use this information for any other purpose.

Your participation in tournaments or other online game events is also conditional upon our collection, use, storage, transmission and public display of statistical data (such as your scores, rankings and achievements) generated through your participation.

B. Will EA Share My Information With Third Parties?

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.

EA does not disclose any personal information about children under 18 years of age who have registered on any of our websites to third parties, or share or disclose personal information other than as set forth in this policy, provided however, that in the event of a merger, acquisition, or the unlikely event of bankruptcy, management of EA customer information may be transferred to its successor or assign regardless of age.

From time to time, EA employs third party contractors to collect personal information on our behalf to provide email delivery, product, prize or promotional fulfillment, contest administration, credit card processing, shipping or other services on our sites. When requesting these services, you may be asked to supply your name, mailing address, telephone number and email address to our contractors. We ask some third party contractors, such as credit agencies, data analytics or market research firms, to supplement personal information that you provide to us for our own marketing and demographic studies, so that we can consistently improve our sites and related advertising to better meet our visitors' needs and preferences. To enrich our understanding of individual customers, we tie this information to the personal information you provide to us.

When our third party agents or service providers collect and/or have access any information other than non-personal, anonymous and/or aggregated data, EA requires that they use data consistently with our stated privacy policies and protect the confidentiality of personal information they collect or have access to in the course of their engagement by EA. These third parties are prohibited from using your personal information for any other purpose without your specific consent.

You will be notified before your personal information is collected by any third party that is not our agent/service provider, so you can make an informed choice as to whether or not to share your information with that party.

We may also access and disclose personal information, including personal communications, in connection with report abuse functions in our products and services, to enforce legal rights and comply with the law, or to comply with an order from a government entity or other competent authority, or when we have reason to believe that a disclosure is necessary to address potential or actual injury or interference with our rights, property, operations, users or others who may be harmed or may suffer loss or damage, or when we believe that disclosure is necessary to protect our rights, combat fraud and/or comply with a judicial proceeding, court order, or legal process served on EA. Note that certain publically available information you post and communicate on our and third party sites and services is public information for which you have no expectation of privacy. See Section XI for more details.

Again, no mention of selling your personal information. However, if your personal information is shared, they will require your consent. EA will also contact you if any third party not affiliated with EA wants to collect your information, giving you a choice whether or not you want to share it.
Links to the full documentation:
Origin EULA
EA Privacy Policy

Of course, all this is incumbent on whether EA actually follows their own policies. That issue is for another discussion and I'm not one to wear tinfoil hats. I just thought I'd put all this out there to clarify for some people on what the issue is about.
#2 Posted by RandomInternetUser (6805 posts) -

Well, that makes it seem a bit less shitty.  Thanks for the post.

#3 Posted by FrankCanada97 (4187 posts) -
@xobballox: Thank you, I thought that Alex's article was inadequate. (There weren't any links to the actual EULA of Origin.)
#4 Posted by CL60 (17120 posts) -

Well when you fully know what it actually is it's not that bad.

#5 Posted by FrankCanada97 (4187 posts) -
@CL60: With everyone crying foul, it's hard not to get caught up in the moment. It's easier to agree than to do your own research these days.
#6 Posted by AhmadMetallic (19303 posts) -

I'd like to take this opportunity to ask, how do I opt out of the privacy-monitoring thing on other programs like Steam or Windows? I never saw the option

#7 Edited by FrankCanada97 (4187 posts) -
@Ahmad_Metallic: I don't know for sure, but this is what I got under Valve's Privacy Policy:

Personally identifiable information protected under this privacy policy and collected from users may be done in conjunction with associates under agreement with Valve. If an associate of Valve is collecting such personally identifiable information within one of our products or online sites, Valve will make users aware of this at the time the information is gathered. For example, product registration data for Half-Life is collected by Sierra Entertainment. If a user does not want to provide this information, the user may choose to opt out of providing this information. Additionally, if providing the information is a requirement of usage, the user may decline to use that particular service or product. When possible, Valve will make a reasonable effort to direct users to the privacy polices of these associates. Valve's privacy policy does not extend to associates of Valve.

#8 Edited by FrankCanada97 (4187 posts) -

Does anyone else have an opinion on this? I would like to think I've covered everything, but I would also like to know if I am missing something.

#9 Posted by The_Nubster (2525 posts) -
@FrankCanada97: Thank you a million for doing all of this research and clearing things up. Every time there's a ToS uproar or something of the sort, I can't help but feel that everyone is reacting to the scary legal terms, rather than what's actually being done. Hopefully this'll calm everyone down.
#10 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6116 posts) -

No, it's too late, I've already jumped on the hate wagon, there's no way I'm getting off it now. FUCK EA!

#11 Posted by FrankCanada97 (4187 posts) -
@TheDudeOfGaming: It's never too late! Why don't you join the wagon of love and tolerance instead?

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