Monday, August 14, 2006

Ubisoft and Your Lack of Privacy

More on the privacy front, courtesy of DQ reader Julian Bell:
Ubisoft does something similarly sneaky in my view. The Dark Messiah of Might & Magic demo came out 3 or 4 days ago. Unless you have a decent firewall though - you won't see that encrypted information is being sent from your computer to Ubi soft servers when:
1. installing the demo
2. playing the demo
3. uninstalling the demo

Since the data is encrypted I'm not sure what it is sending.

It's probably similar or the same to what was collected on the Heroes of M&M 5 game. This is a demo, though, with no opt-out or notice that it is sending anything (very sneaky).

Julian enclosed a screenshot with a message from Kerio (his firewall):
Outgoing Connection Alert!
'DARK_MESSIAH_DEMO.EXE' from your computer wants to connect to

I didn't include everything in the message (left off ip addresses, etc), but his screenshot did.

Here's my privacy policy: hands off my computer, bitches. Why in the world is that difficult for companies to understand?And if you're going to probe my system and collect information, there should be an opt-in popup box where you explain to me what you're doing, not some eight page EULA with the applicable information buried somewhere in page five. That's just bullshit, and all these companies know it.

In the case of Ubisoft, they apparently not only didn't even ask, they didn't even include a licensing agreement.

Yes, the high probability is that they were just gathering system config information. That's not the point, though--the point is that they're not telling us.

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