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More Origin Spyware Accusations

SystemLink has a video from a German gamer (thanks Joao) showing what's alleged to be spyware activity from Origin, EA's online service. This uses a process monitor to attempt to show what sort of data from your system is being reported back to Electronic Arts. Eurogamer has EA's response to this, which denies any wrongdoing:

EA Germany has now updated Origin's terms of service in response to the furore and issued a statement denying its software was spyware.

"We have updated the End User License Agreement of Origin, in the interests of our players to create more clarity," EA Germany announced in a statement yesterday. "Origin is not spyware. Neither do we use nor install spyware on the PCs of users.

"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.

"EA takes the privacy of its users very seriously. We have taken every precaution to protect the personal and anonymous user data collected."

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58 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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58. Re: More Origin Spyware Accusations Nov 2, 2011, 23:51 zirik
 
i dont think origin is designed as a DRM tool. it is there to build a more detailed profile of consumers that EA can sell to advertisers. why else would they need to snoop into browsing habits of gamers. its not enough we get tracked in many different ways through our use of electronic devices. now we voluntarily surrender our privacy to play a video game.  
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57. Re: More Origin Spyware Accusations Nov 2, 2011, 23:36 xXBatmanXx
 
Slashman wrote on Nov 1, 2011, 22:26:
GAAAAHHH!!! My midget/horse/dog/catgirl/tentacle porn!!!! Give it back!!

Share please.
 
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56. Re: More Origin Spyware Accusations Nov 2, 2011, 23:35 xXBatmanXx
 
Just hook up a sniffer on your IP traffic. Not tough to see what is going on...  
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Buy from GreenManGaming? Use this, we both get $2.00 - http://www.greenmangaming.com/?gmgr=purutuwi
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55. Re: More Origin Spyware Accusations Nov 2, 2011, 16:30 Hump
 
They got caught so instead of taking it out, they change their TOS so they can claim they aren't hiding anything.

You have to be a special kind of worm to work in management.
 
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"Both the “left” and the “right” pretend they have the answer, but they are mere flippers on the same thalidomide baby, and the truth is that neither side has a clue."

- Jim Goad
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54. Re: More Origin Spyware Accusations Nov 2, 2011, 15:11 Creston
 
Cutter wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 07:04:
I love the language of this. So, as long as it pertains to Origin - however they define that to be - than they can collect that information. Talk about language so wide open they can taxi a 747 through it.

"Hey Joey! Where's the forklift?"
"Forklift? Over there!"

Creston
 
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53. Re: More Origin Spyware Accusations Nov 2, 2011, 13:59 Prez
 
TheVocalMinority wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 07:38:
Those who would give up their privacy for a little entertainment deserve neither

Haha, clever inference there.
 
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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52. Re: More Origin Spyware Accusations Nov 2, 2011, 12:45 saluk
 
space captain wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 10:52:
InBlack wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 09:31:
This is not complicated.

This really struck a chord with me.......and I have to say, I agree.

Me three...

yeh this is probably gonna sound offensive, which isnt my intent for saying this... but stupidity and paranoia is indeed, not complicated

its called the "lowest common denominator" and its why you will always find people to agree with those impulses

people seem to be very concerned with fears of robot overlords, without realizing how utterly robotic they already are in their own daily lives.. and maybe thats exactly why they are so afraid...

BTW - didnt know they cracked origin out of MP BF3, but if so thats great... if thats going to be a regular thing for MP games from now on, then awesome, live it up... im not afraid to admit when im wrong, because id rather keep an open mind - it doesnt scare me

Whether you personally care about privacy or not, you have it backwards. In a world where information controls everything, information is important. Being able to control where the information about you goes is as important as being able to control where your money goes. Just as you wouldn't want your money to just randomly start emptying from your account with no idea of where it is going, you shouldn't want your personal information to be siphoned off. While it's true that for the most part we don't actually live in that world, at the same time you can't take back any ground you yield. Those who take this stand are not stupid or paranoid. It's more about sticking up for yourself than being afraid. If you are willing to pay the price, so be it. But at least realize that you ARE paying something, in addition to that 60$ price tag.

Still, not really convinced what Origin is actually doing here. I know that a lot of anti-cheat systems do scans for known hacking tools etc. Valve anti-cheat does this. I have always hated this practice, but not quite enough to not play the games. It's possible that this is all that's going on here. If someone will do a network scan to see what data is actually going to EA, that would be helpful. That kind of analysis has helped put a stop to other privacy leaks before.
 
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51. Re: More Origin Spyware Accusations Nov 2, 2011, 11:45 Beamer
 
El Pit wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 11:37:
Beamer wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 10:18:
Yes, sifting it, aggregating it and serving you ads based upon it.

More than this, it even influences the results of your search. Try searching the same word/phrase on two different machines (like yours and your girlfriend's/wife's). We found out that we got different results. Even this is influenced by your former use of google.

Yeah. And when I read a few hockey articles on Yahoo it will start putting them in the top news for me. Thinks like this can be convenient.

It's only when it's forcibly tied to my real name that it bothers me, which is why I hate Google right now. They forcibly try to combine all your logins so that your YouTube account is tied to your gmail, etc. I don't want that.
But if you want to track me as a number sure, whatever. Just don't be stupid like AOL and leak that out as proof that it can't be traced.
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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50. Re: More Origin Spyware Accusations Nov 2, 2011, 11:37 El Pit
 
Beamer wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 10:18:
Yes, sifting it, aggregating it and serving you ads based upon it.

More than this, it even influences the results of your search. Try searching the same word/phrase on two different machines (like yours and your girlfriend's/wife's). We found out that we got different results. Even this is influenced by your former use of google.
 
Consoles? I owned two: a Pong clone and an Atari 2600. And that's it.
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49. Re: More Origin Spyware Accusations Nov 2, 2011, 11:32 Verno
 
briktal wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 10:39:
And taking this back to your original statement, where do you draw the line of what matters and doesn't where you would agree to let some company gather all this information in order for you to access something. You say playing a game isn't important enough for you to hand over this info, so what is?

The line to be drawn is easy, where the functionality to provide the service stops. Companies do not need to do any of the things I mentioned to provide you with entertainment and they know full well that it's not an expected part of the contract and will piss people off, hence why its obscured in legalese.

You claimed the data is theoretically valueless so people shouldn't be upset but if the data had no value then the company wouldn't want to collect it. It doesn't need to make an impact on someones life for them to hold the perfectly valid opinion that the company has no right to it. I can't make it any clearer than that.
 
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Playing: Dragon Age Inquisition, Far Cry 4, This War of Mine
Watching: The Walking Dead, The Fall, As Above So Below
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48. Re: More Origin Spyware Accusations Nov 2, 2011, 10:52 space captain
 
InBlack wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 09:31:
This is not complicated.

This really struck a chord with me.......and I have to say, I agree.

Me three...

yeh this is probably gonna sound offensive, which isnt my intent for saying this... but stupidity and paranoia is indeed, not complicated

its called the "lowest common denominator" and its why you will always find people to agree with those impulses

people seem to be very concerned with fears of robot overlords, without realizing how utterly robotic they already are in their own daily lives.. and maybe thats exactly why they are so afraid...

BTW - didnt know they cracked origin out of MP BF3, but if so thats great... if thats going to be a regular thing for MP games from now on, then awesome, live it up... im not afraid to admit when im wrong, because id rather keep an open mind - it doesnt scare me
 
Go forth, and kill!
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47. Re: More Origin Spyware Accusations Nov 2, 2011, 10:39 briktal
 
Verno wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 09:05:
briktal wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 08:54:
On the other hand, what important influence does EA theoretically knowing you have program x installed have in the stuff that really matters in their lives?

Come on, you're smarter than this. I don't need to know all of the theoretical possibilities to know that I don't want someone having access to information that they have no right to. Using your logic, if it doesn't matter at all then they don't need to have it in the first place. Where do you draw the line of what matters and doesn't? Would scanning configuration files to figure out user preferences be ok? If they promise to make it "non-identifiable" is it ok if they mine the registry or your browser cookies?

And taking this back to your original statement, where do you draw the line of what matters and doesn't where you would agree to let some company gather all this information in order for you to access something. You say playing a game isn't important enough for you to hand over this info, so what is?
 
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46. Re: More Origin Spyware Accusations Nov 2, 2011, 10:18 Beamer
 
necrosis wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 10:06:
Beamer wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 09:45:
necrosis wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 08:39:
Beamer wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 07:39:
It isn't monitoring, it's looking at directories. From what I understand it is not opening anything.

Still not right, but it's basically doing what 90% of Google's programs do. Remember Google Desktop? Does Google even still make that? Now that was a program that looked at everything you did in detail...
Well considering Google Desktop was a search program it sort of has to touch all files on your computer to, well, search.

Origin has no fucking business touching anything outside its own directory and system files.

Like I said, still wrong. But you know what Google was doing with everything it searched, right?
Do you really know what anyone is doing with anything they collect from you?

Yes, sifting it, aggregating it and serving you ads based upon it.
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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45. Re: More Origin Spyware Accusations Nov 2, 2011, 10:06 necrosis
 
Beamer wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 09:45:
necrosis wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 08:39:
Beamer wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 07:39:
It isn't monitoring, it's looking at directories. From what I understand it is not opening anything.

Still not right, but it's basically doing what 90% of Google's programs do. Remember Google Desktop? Does Google even still make that? Now that was a program that looked at everything you did in detail...
Well considering Google Desktop was a search program it sort of has to touch all files on your computer to, well, search.

Origin has no fucking business touching anything outside its own directory and system files.

Like I said, still wrong. But you know what Google was doing with everything it searched, right?
Do you really know what anyone is doing with anything they collect from you?
 
Avatar 16007
 
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44. Re: More Origin Spyware Accusations Nov 2, 2011, 10:05 theyarecomingforyou
 
I have Origin installed to a different directory and when I ran Process Monitor it was only accessing the folder to which it was installed - it wasn't accessing programs like Skype, as shown in the video. Still, Origin has got a long way to go at the moment and if it's to compete with Steam it will need to offer a better service and be beyond reproach when it comes to privacy and the likes. EA has built up a lot of much deserved bad will and farming personal data to sell on to advertisers - whether anonymous or not - is a very bad start.

This sort of shit pisses me off because my latest mobile number has received a lot of spam - from texts to phonecalls - and it pisses me off that these shitty advertising companies can so easily get hold of my personal information thanks to other shitty companies like EA.
 
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43. Re: More Origin Spyware Accusations Nov 2, 2011, 09:57 tuddies
 
Just get the fixed executable from Razor1911, which eliminates the need for Origin completely!

I use this not out of concern for any data collection, but because I don't want another useless pile of crap running for no reason. They are just trying to shove more advertising and marketing down the users throat. No thanks, jackasses!


 
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42. Re: More Origin Spyware Accusations Nov 2, 2011, 09:45 Beamer
 
necrosis wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 08:39:
Beamer wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 07:39:
It isn't monitoring, it's looking at directories. From what I understand it is not opening anything.

Still not right, but it's basically doing what 90% of Google's programs do. Remember Google Desktop? Does Google even still make that? Now that was a program that looked at everything you did in detail...
Well considering Google Desktop was a search program it sort of has to touch all files on your computer to, well, search.

Origin has no fucking business touching anything outside its own directory and system files.

Like I said, still wrong. But you know what Google was doing with everything it searched, right?
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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41. Re: More Origin Spyware Accusations Nov 2, 2011, 09:45 Satoru
 
baltar wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 07:35:
I heard some success with installing origin under sandboxie to lock it down from digging around your machine.

I got a wrapped copy sitting on my desk and am torn between actually installing it in sandboxie or returning it for a refund.. Really haven't decided yet.

The best you can really do is firewall the executable. The program is just doing a dir of the program files directory. Thus the only way to really 'sandbox' it would to run origin under a user profile that has no access to this directory. The problem is Program Files is a 'special' directory in Windows and you can't really lock it down much beyond the initial settings. So getting Origin to not scan that directory is going to take some ugly hacks.

Even after all your ugly hacking you're going to have problems. Note Origin needs to launch BATTLELOG which is their horrible browser based matchmaking. So if you're running IE, then Origin can't launch IE which is in Program Files, so ... no BF3. Even if you have some other browser, there's a 99% chance you installed it in Program Files so you'll have to move that out. And you'd better hope it doesn't need anything in Program Files\Common Files or again... totally screwed.
 
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40. Re: More Origin Spyware Accusations Nov 2, 2011, 09:31 InBlack
 
DedEye wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 08:27:
The problem I have is that they will take my information from my machine and my actions and sell it. They are willing to commodify my existence without giving me a cut of financial gain or the opportunity to say "no don't do that" without wrapping it up in legalese in tiny print on page 103 of a EULA.

That is just treating me the customer like shit.

It sucks. I am not pork bellies nor some stock to be traded in for cash or service. I am a human, and I want the right to control how other legal fictions (corporations) make money off of me or trade in my identity.

This is not complicated.

This really struck a chord with me.......and I have to say, I agree.

Me three...
 
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39. Re: More Origin Spyware Accusations Nov 2, 2011, 09:30 El Pit
 
briktal wrote on Nov 2, 2011, 08:54:
On the other hand, what important influence does EA theoretically knowing you have program x installed have in the stuff that really matters in their lives?

Why would I want them to know what websites I visit regularly? Most of us guys watch internet porn, so why would I want them to know that I like "girls-with-huge-boobies.com" (I hope that website doesn't exist! I made this up!)? Why would I want them to know what my e-mail software is? Or what other games I play?
Unless Origin can come up with a reason why they absolutely need to know more about my "life online", I don't want them to know about it. And whenever they gather any information outside the games I bought via Origin, I want them to ask and give me the opportunity to say "NO" without any consequences.
 
Consoles? I owned two: a Pong clone and an Atari 2600. And that's it.
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