Monday, August 14, 2006

When EA Responds

At some point this week, EA will probably respond to the questions raised about their privacy policy. For your convenience, here are two of their possible answers: the jackass wagon answer, and the correct answer.

Version One: the Jackass Wagon answer.
Electronic Arts is not collecting credit information from its online customers via their Xbox Live account profile.

Version Two: the correct answer.
Electronic Arts is not and has never collected credit card information from its online customers via their Xbox Live account profiles. Furthermore, the Privacy Policy has been re-written to remove credit card information as a collectable category. In addition, EA will no longer match demographic information with specific customers--any demographic information collected will be used only in aggregate.

If in their answer they don't even mention credit card acquisition, but just put out some marketing-speak about the Privacy Policy, then it's safe to assume that they are collecting credit card information.

Here's why you'll need to read their response carefully. If they say "we are not collecting" credit card information, that doesn't mean they haven't, or that they won't in the future, because that option is clearly listed in their Privacy Policy. The correct follow-up questions from 1UP or whomever would be:
1) Have you, at any point, in the past, collected credit card information from Xbox Live accounts?
2) Do you have a database of credit card numbers obtained in this manner?
3) Will you be rewriting your Privacy Policy? If so, what changes will you be making?
4) If you aren't changing your Privacy Policy, why? Why would you need the option to harvest credit card numbers if you have no intention of doing so?

Like I said, we need consumer advocacy protection. We need watchdogs to look out for our interests, because clearly, some of these companies couldn't care less.

I know one thing: I'm going to start reading every damn EULA that pops up on my screen, no matter how long. And if you guys do, too, at least I can post what looks questionable and offer some small measure of protection.

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