Electronic Arts and Microsoft: "Screw Privacy!"

Electronic Arts (EA) has just redefined the meaning of “privacy.” EA’s privacy policy explicitly states that by playing any EA game over Microsoft’s Xbox Live service, you already grant EA permission to automatically create an account on its system. This then lets EA retrieve and keep personal customer information from Microsoft’s customer database. I would normally be pretty comfortable with services using consumer data, but this one seems to be sneaky in that:

  • EA takes the liberty to create an account for you automatically, even without your explicit consent.
  • Microsoft’s privacy policy states they may share information with partners, and by may, it means they will do so.
  • EA does not only use consumer infomation in aggregate to determine usage and other demographic trends. The privacy policy states that EA may (and most likely would) take personally-identifiable information and combine these with demographics.

As I read it, Electronic Arts takes the Privacy Policy position that by playing EA games online you are actively authorizing Electronic Arts to extract whatever data it deems pertinent from your system and from Microsoft’s Xbox Live customer database. Further, this sharing of customer information seems to happen without any effort to make the casual user aware that a stream of tiny, data-fat bits full of juicy private information is issuing forth through the online ether into the waiting and hungry servers at Electronic Arts.

Which is all to say that, if you’ve ever played an Electronic Arts game over Xbox Live, EA may already have your email address, phone number, birth date, and credit card information filed away without you even knowing it.

As I read the referenced quote, it is the policy of Electronic Arts to create an EA Online account for you when you log onto an EA game through Xbox Live, and by creating the account they are granting themselves the authority to retrieve your private credit card information and much more from Microsoft in the process.

Not all users are ignorant, but most would probably be passive when it comes to scrutinizing such policies and agreements. I mean, really, who does have the time to read and review these long documents before clicking “OK”? Especially when you’re excited to get into the action, in all likelihood you’ll just go on selecting “I agree,” even if the contract states you would be playing the game in exchange for your soul right there on paragraph 124.b, second-to-the-last sentence, in 6-pt. font.

At any rate, I think that if you’re paranoid about your personal information, you should probably go live up in the mountains and pay for stuff in cash if you have to (or perhaps just scavenge for food and other needs), but I digress. You’d have to be disconnected from the world before you would actually enjoy true privacy. Heck, I’d say Google knows more about you than your mother does!

Still, it’s unfair for EA to take advantage of users’ being passive in order to get identifiable customer information–especially since it includes financial information.

[via Slashdot]

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know

or Comment Below

Gaming Trailers

More Like This
NHL 23 | Official Game Modes Deep Dive Trailer
Latest Trailers
Digimon Survive | Gameplay Trailer

Got a tip?

Let us know