Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Privacy: the New Misnomer

Where exactly is the consumer protection organization for gamers?

I wish we didn't need one, but as consumers of software products that are often released in alpha/beta state (at best) and then never finished--and we can't return that product for a refund--it's pretty clear that in the big picture, we're getting screwed.

Or maybe we need protection from bullshit like this:
If you sign up to play EA games through Microsoft’s Xbox Live Service, Microsoft will provide your Xbox Live user account information to EA so that we can establish an EA Online account for you. You need an EA Online account to play EA’s Xbox Live titles. By signing up to play EA's Xbox Live titles, you agree that Microsoft can transfer your user account information to EA.

Information collected will vary depending upon the activity and may include your name, e-mail address, phone number, mobile number, home address, birth date and credit card information. In addition, we may collect demographic information such as gender, zip code, information about your computer, hardware, software, platform, media, Internet IP address and connection, information about online activity such as feature usage, game play statistics and scores, user rankings and click paths and other data that you may provide in surveys or online profiles, for instance. We may combine demographic information with personal information.

That's EA's "Privacy Policy". Talk about a misnomer.

I'm baffled. Is it legal now for a company to take your credit card information from another company--just because they want to? Nothing's required except EA's unflagging desire to perform a mass teabagging on all their customers?

Oh, and by the way, that might not even be the worst part. That combining demographic information with personal information is a real beaut as well. Look closely at their demographic "data collection." They're allowed to collect "information" about your:
--IP address
--"click paths"

That's just a sampling. So EA can do an anal probe on our computers as well? All this because someone wants to play an EA game online?

Where is the outrage about this? Why is it that when I pull up Gametab (indispensable) every day and check headlines from twenty-four different gaming sites, I might see fifteen carry a single new screenshot from Cleopatra's Unfortunate Equestrian Adventures, but almost no one actually seems to be covering real news?

Invasion of privacy policy. That's what these things should be named. At least that's accurate.

Thanks to DQ reader Mike Zeldenrust for bringing this to my attention.

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