Gamers in Germany are claiming that EA are using the Origin service to spy on their computer activity. EA have refused the claims which, if true, would fall foul of Germany’s strict privacy laws.
Origin is required to access Battlefield 3 via a PC, hence the fact that such claims have surfaced from PC gamers. The spark for their anger came when images appeared online that seemed to show Origin accessing external programs (i.e. programs other than Battlefield 3) as well as information synced from mobile phones.
German Battlefield 3 PC users have since been returning their boxed copies to retailers in their droves, and have attacked the game on Amazon.de. Currently there are 2,872 review user review of Battlefield 3 on Amazon.de, 2,647 of which award the game one of five stars.
Additionally, German newspaper Spiegel has printed a list of items contained within Origin’s license agreement that violate the country’s privacy laws. Included in the list is the right for EA to access other EA products without notification, as well as the right for EA and its “partners” to gather, store, use and transmit information relating to a user’s IP address, software packages, equipments, hardware and usage data.
EA deny any wrongdoing and have since updated Origin’s license agreement to fall in line with Germany’s laws. They have also released the following statement:
“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.”