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EA's 'Invasion of Privacy' Policy 98

Posted by Zonk
from the quite-a-sack dept.
Justus writes "Gamers with Jobs has posted an article covering EA's privacy policy for Xbox Live users. In a nutshell, by using an EA game over Xbox Live, you are automatically creating an 'EA Online' account and granting Electronic Arts the ability to collect your name, address, and credit card information, as well as a variety of demographic information about how you use their products. Not only that, they explicitly say that they may tie these demographics to your personal information — no anonymous aggregation here! When Gamers with Jobs asked EA and Microsoft about these issues, they were met with stony silence, a fact they attribute to the pending release of the new Madden game next week. Without an official comment from the companies involved, it certainly looks like EA has the most invasive privacy policy they could come up with."
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EA's 'Invasion of Privacy' Policy

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  • by c0l0 (826165) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @06:30AM (#15943625) Homepage
    ...that should make it to the front page, to enable the really important stuff to spread more quickly - it's more than about time to let the big corps know we're giving up neither on our privacy, nor our freedom.

    Vote with your wallet - do _not_ buy products that fuck with your inalienable rights so badly.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You make a good point about voting with a wallet. What a shame you dressed it up in so much hyperbole that an average punter would probably classify you as a whacko and ignore you.

      How can it be an "inalienable right" if it's being taken away from you?

      And in what way is this an assault on our "freedom"? Privacy, sure, but are they locking you up if you don't play enough or something?

      IMHO, if you have a good point to make, you can generally make it much more effectively by writing about it in a calm and

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @08:11AM (#15943804) Journal
        How can it be an "inalienable right" if it's being taken away from you?

        Inalienable does not mean it can't be taken away from you, it means it is inherent; an inalienable right is a right which is absolute, not one which is granted. I could shoot you in the face with a gun, for example, removing your inalienable right to life. It's quite a fluffy concept, one that has kept philosophers happy for quite a while. As always Wikipedia has more coverage [wikipedia.org].

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          Well, my dictionaries don't agree with the wording of your definition, but that's somewhat beside the point. Even using your definitions, how can an inalienable right possibly be removed by a corporation?

          If you want to be philosophical about it, then the only rights you truly have are those which are prepared to die defending, because ultimately anything else can be taken from you. We therefore invent modifiers like "legal" (those rights the law says you should have) and "moral" (those rights that someone

          • the right is not being removed by the corporation. inalienable rights cannot be removed, you always have them. the corporation is in this case transgressing your right and could be held accountable.
          • by jthill (303417)
            Strawman. OP didn't say "remove". He said "fuck with".
        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:20AM (#15944284)

          I could shoot you in the face with a gun, for example, removing your inalienable right to life.

          You think you can take ALL of us Mr. Vice President?

        • by perlchild (582235)
          The right is being abused, not "taken away".
          If it was taken away, other companies would be able to ask you for the same info EA is getting and get! (FROM YOU) since you'd have lost the right to protect that information(which is nonsensical). As for inalienable, in this particular case, IANAL but I believe it stands that you can not be made to lose it. An alienable right, would be freedom of movement, if you commit a serious enough crime, your right can be alienated from you(as in taken away). That doesn't
      • by alshithead (981606) * on Sunday August 20, 2006 @08:46AM (#15943878)
        What are you fucking talking about! He's rational and calm as can be for someone who's life is about to be threatened by having his privacy and rights raped right off a fucking cliff. It's the end of civilization! The sky is falling, the sky is falling the sky is...oh wait...

        Deep breath...valium...exhale...

        Yeah, vote with your wallet but don't act like it's the end of the world. :)
    • by enharmonix (988983) <enharmonix+slashdot@gmail.com> on Sunday August 20, 2006 @08:13AM (#15943807)
      Hear, hear!

      You know, slashdot has so many readers, we ought to form a PAC for /. style issues, you know fixing IP law (can you name a movie in the public domain?), protecting privacy, withdrawing from WIPO, dismembering the DMCA, etc. Kinda like the EFF, but for convincing Congress to protect our personal information, our computers, our rights, etc. Everybody donates $20 bucks, and before you know it, we've got a couple million dollars to lobby with. You know, if freaking PETA can do it, I think the slashdot community can do it, and if we did, I bet Congress would pay attention.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Chosen Reject (842143)
        can you name a movie in the public domain?

        How about Night of the Living Dead? [archive.org] I downloaded that legally last year before Halloween. Try it out some time.
        • How about Night of the Living Dead? I downloaded that legally last year before Halloween. Try it out some time.

          I did mean that as a rhetorical question, but touché. And I think I might, it's a classic.

          Most films that anybody can name are still in copyright, and the very few public domain films we've ever heard of are in the public domain because they were released prior to the '70s, before the current © terms went into effect (thanks for reminding me we still have a few more works expiring

      • by mmalove (919245) on Monday August 21, 2006 @09:23AM (#15948336)
        Well, on a somewhat less expensive solution, you could just write your congressman / woman yourself. While everything I've ever sent to the oval office has gone into the trash, I actually did get a response back from my House rep the other day. Most people think about it as a great idea, few people actually do it. But if it's any incentive, the fewer people that do something the more weight granted to those that do. For example, when you vote, if only half the eligible voters turn out, your opinion counts for two. In the example of writing to your congressman, if only 1 per 1000 do it, your opinion counts for a 1000 people. If this post encourages 1000 people to write to Congress, I've essentially just persuaded a million people. That's real change.

        If everyone that read this actually wrote a letter to congress (write to your rep, not just to congress as a whole) seeking stronger privacy laws, with a simple but well framed arguement why it's important to us, you would see real change. But we've got to make it an issue, because they are receiving letters every day about the war(s), about immigration, about the minimum wage increase. If you don't let them know it's important to you, even a strong advocate of privacy will have a hard time moving legislation through the commitees and floor. A PAC might buy us a representative or two in Congress, but it won't be enough to get people looking at the importance of the issue.

        If you don't know how to get ahold of your rep, or for lack of political participation can't figure out who your rep is, visit here : www.congress.org

        But be careful! I've read through their privacy policy, and it, much like EA's, is pretty invasive, including the option to sell your personal information. Still, you can use their site to figure out who you want to contact, and take matters to your own hands from there.

        Best wishes /.ers,
        Mike
        • Well, on a somewhat less expensive solution, you could just write your congressman / woman yourself.

          And get back a form letter. Congress is just not concerned about what citizens have to say unless it's a hot topic, but you're right. That's the first step, so I'll do so.

          the fewer people that do something the more weight granted to those that do. ... we've got to make it an issue, because they are receiving letters every day about the war(s), about immigration, about the minimum wage increase.

          I s

        • by Senzei (791599)

          Most people think about it as a great idea, few people actually do it. But if it's any incentive, the fewer people that do something the more weight granted to those that do. For example, when you vote, if only half the eligible voters turn out, your opinion counts for two. In the example of writing to your congressman, if only 1 per 1000 do it, your opinion counts for a 1000 people.

          I have a friend that is an elected official. I forget what the title is exactly, but I think he supervises the collection of

        • by Pearson (953531)
          I did this with Net Neutrality. I even got a response back that wasn't too bad for an auto-reply. I actually felt rather empowered to know that my view was noted down on some internal polling data.

          I also got added to a bunch of rolex and viagra spam lists which, I am sure , was just a coincidence... ~_^

    • by TopShelf (92521) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @10:15AM (#15944097) Homepage Journal
      You're absolutely right about encouraging people not to deal with companies like this if they really care that much about the issue. Bottom line is, most people don't.

      It's insightful to remember the Scott McNealy [wikiquote.org] quote: "You have zero privacy. Get over it."

      • It's insightful to remember the Scott McNealy quote: "You have zero privacy. Get over it."

        I'm still waiting for crackers to post his credit card information and explicit photos of his family on zeroprivacygetoverit.com. I'm guessing his lawyers would take a different view at that point.

      • The problem is that most don't understand that giving up your personal information when you are young (typically the time frame when you don't care about it) means that when you are older and mature companies have information about you that you don't want. When you want to be left alone they still have your information and can be invasive.

        Not only that the more they collect the more they'll sell to others. The least they could do is give you a piece of the total when they sell the information they have co
  • Easy solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mustafap (452510) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @06:32AM (#15943627) Homepage
    Dont buy their games
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      They wouldn't be able to get the information without Microsoft's "co-branding", so maybe it's MS you should boycott for "sharing" the information in the first place.
      • by rtb61 (674572)
        Microsoft are not cobranding. EA paid the licence to be able to access what most games would consider private data. Microsoft plans to sell this and any other gamer profile data that they can M$=B$. Don't like it, then don't xbox and certainly don't xbox live.

        At least with sony, you could complain and fight for legislation to kill their root kit, with microsoft they don't even ask you to bend over, you buying it pre-installed and they are selling access to it and to you, to all comers.

        A gap certainly cr

    • Re:Easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

      by thedletterman (926787) <thedletterman@nOsPAM.hotmail.com> on Sunday August 20, 2006 @06:56AM (#15943668) Homepage
      Except educating the general public on privacy isn't an easy reason as to why they shouldn't play the latest version of Madden. There needs to be a pointed attack on EA by the media and lobbying firms for movements like this. Simply "boycot" solutions are non-solutions. Madden is probably one of the best selling games in the United States, and while I find it deplorable that an online service would take advantage of consumer confidence to literally spy on them in means for more invasive than any New York Times article about Bush. Certainly, it's a sad day for privacy as the leaders of the industry use their mass appeal to break the resistance of the people more interested in protecting the historical wall of online privacy than playing video games.
      • Re:Easy solution (Score:4, Insightful)

        by SharpFang (651121) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @07:02AM (#15943686) Homepage Journal
        I bet no amount of white hat education will help. What we need is a nice black-hat break-in, stealing all the collected data from EA and publishing it somewhere online. Users would learn it sucks, and EA would learn privacy violation lawsuits are costly.
        • Re:Easy solution (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2@eaRASPrthshod.co.uk minus berry> on Sunday August 20, 2006 @09:41AM (#15943999)
          Unfortunately, that probably won't help the cause. The media will conveniently forget that that information should never have been collected in the first place, and spin it as "evil hackers steal identities", not as "company commits egregious invasion of privacy". (If you do want to steal someone's identity, BTW, you can do worse than look here [google.co.uk] for inspiration.)

          As always, the best way to protect yourself is to lie through your teeth when asked for personal information and never, ever be even vaguely consistent across different requests. For instance, if you pretended to be an Albanian nun to get a NYT login, pretend to be a Portuguese sausage-maker with hobbies of sword-fighting and watch repair to get an IMDB login -- but don't mention anything ecclesiastical or Albanian.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Wilson_6500 (896824)
            It's kinda hard to lie about your credit info, which these services seem to be collecting.
          • This doesn't really matter your IP address gives you away, it's not hard to correlate who is who on the internet using analysis, if you were really serious, you can use anonymizers or relays but does joe user even know that?

            For the average user... there is no privacy, welcome to the 21st century!
            • by walnutmon (988223)
              I am a computer engineer who has worked for 2 years in the field... and I didn't know that.
      • by symbolic (11752)
        Simply "boycot" solutions are non-solutions.

        I disagree - boycotts are very good solutions, it's just that too many Americans are too fat and lazy to do anything about it. They want their video games, their McFood, all of their convenience, and all of that means so much more than some very fundamental issues that involve some pretty serious stuff. What's worse, is that they look to big daddy government to solve their problems once everything is hopelessly out of hand. That will NEVER work, since the elected
    • by ClamIAm (926466)
      That's what I do. I've been doing a silent boycott of EA for, oh about three years now. I should probably send them a letter...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 20, 2006 @06:35AM (#15943629)
    Glad to see they now treat their consumers like they treat their employees.
  • by Ceriel Nosforit (682174) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @06:39AM (#15943637)
    This article should be fully expanded on the frontpage. Why? Because it's obiously exactly what EA and MS do not want. And therefore it should be done. Just out of spite.
  • by krell (896769) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @06:49AM (#15943652) Journal
    Looking forward to the industry that springs up when someone finds out that in the games, you can farm for other players' personal information along with weapons and magic-items.
  • Surprised? (Score:5, Interesting)

    Is there a single slashdotter who is in any way surprised by this? Is there anyone so naive as to believe that private companies are the best guardians of your privacy? Even the most rapid laissez faire capitalist would hesitate before declaring your valuable data safe from explotation at the hands of the private sector.

    Your data is worth money. Marketers are willing to buy it. Hence, companies will be willing and eager to sell it. They don't care. They're private companies, beholden to no one except their shareholders.

    If you would like to give your explicit approval to this buy buying such a game, or tacit approval by buying any other EA game, then do so. That is your right. Just don't complain when your playing habits are vomited all over the net like so many AOL search results.
    • Slashdot readers are the last people who need to be surprised with this information. I'm thinking about the poor communications major three doors down from me, who's going to run out and buy the new Madden game the day after it comes out.
  • by SharpFang (651121) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @06:56AM (#15943669) Homepage Journal
    Wonder when they start broadcasting "live shows" from users' webcams.
  • Most invasive? (Score:2, Informative)

    by hchaput (544841)
    Most invasive? Hyperpolize much?

    Here is the privacy policy from the Safeway Club Card [safeway.com]:

    SAFEWAY CLUB CARD CUSTOMER
    AGREEMENT STATEMENT
    We respect your privacy. Safeway does not sell or lease personally identifying information (i.e., your name, address, telephone number, and bank and credit card account numbers) to non-affiliated companies or entities. We do record information regarding the purchases made with your Safeway Club Card to help us provide you with special offers and other information. Safeway a

    • Re:Most invasive? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jimmy King (828214) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @07:45AM (#15943754) Homepage Journal
      Not to mention the fact that EA is gathering information that you provide.
      Not quite. EA is gathering information that you provide TO MICROSOFT, not to EA. Sure, you could argue that one should have read the privacy policie and all other documentation, but you know what? Who's going to go to EA's website and read that before buying a game, if at all? No, it's not the company's duty to make sure you read all the documentation, but I do believe they make that stuff longer and more difficult to read, both in terms of wording and tiny fonts that some people may have trouble with, than it needs to be to try to dissuade people from reading it which is wrong imo. My first line might make you think I'm only blaming EA in this, but just to be clear, I believe both companies are in the wrong.
    • Re:Most invasive? (Score:4, Informative)

      by joe 155 (937621) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @08:26AM (#15943831) Journal
      I don't know how that safeway card works (I'm assuming that they are the super-market you are refering to...) but if it is like the tesco club cards then they are taking your data, which is tied to your name and address, but only about things which directly concern them (ie. items they have sold to you and not credit card info) AND they actually pay you for it.

      Tesco gives you 1p in the £1 of all you spend with them for the data which they are taking. Some people would think that this isn't worth it, so you can just not have one and still use their products and buy from them.

      It seems with EA you have to do this or not use a product which you have paid for, which is a bit bad
      • by DeadChobi (740395)
        Safeway will have sales that are exclusively linked to their card. For example, I could buy a 12-pack of coke, and with my club card pay $3.00, or without pay $4.50. In exchange for these deals they use your information to personally tailor marketing, and occasionally send you free stuff. Heh. For my 19th birthday Safeway sent me a razor. Free.
        • by coyote-san (38515)
          You didn't include the fact that the $3.00 "sale" price was bumped up from the pre-card prices.

          You can really see this with soda since it's usually discounted. We saw prices for 6-packs of 24 fl oz soda running at $2.00 in December (2001?). On January 1st several stores rolled out their cards and the same product cost _$5.00_. But if you signed up for their card you could get the soda for just $3.00.

          They called it a 40% savings. I call it a 50% increase.

          The "regular" prices have gotten a more realistic,
      • by garylian (870843)
        Yeah, the grocery companies have been doing this for years. Folks grab their tinfoil hats and run around screaming about privacy invasions, and then go to the local grocery store and use a shopping card. Every single item you just bought is being tracked.

        It wouldn't surprise me if they start doing the same with credit card purchases; getting access to everything you bought, instead of just the bottom line. MasterCard and Visa have to make more money than just the 19% they collect on people that don't pay
    • The answer is not to sit idly by and accept it. I'm sure you're aware of this, but as you in no way indicated it in your post, I feel I should point out that neither of the extremes of the opinions is "The Answer".
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kextyn (961845)
      There's a key difference here. You can shop at Safeway without using a card. It is totally optional. And I'm pretty sure you get something in black and white to read through before you sign your name on it. You're comparing apples and oranges.
    • by ajs318 (655362)
      Safeway were taken over by Morrisons a couple of years ago, so it just goes to show how long it is since you last went shopping! :p

      Morrisons supermarkets don't have a loyalty card scheme. They do have savings stamp machines: you buy one pound stamps and stick them on a card. At certain points there are pre-printed "extra stamps", which are only valid if all the preceding positions are occupied with real stamps; this is the bonus you get for using savings stamps. Meanwhile, Morrisons have your money in
    • by coyote-san (38515)
      Albertson's (used to?) let you get the card anonymously, but you had to ask.

      Safeway and Kroger has been *******, but I picked up a Safeway card because I was there with my girlfriend and reminded her that I had "lost" my card. They gave me a card and application to fill out so I would continue to get my bennies. Gosh, I seem to have misplaced that form!

      The bottom line is that you can get them without providing personal information, but you have to be persistent. It also goes without saying that they're ca
  • EA is certainly taking a big risk of future lawsuits with this so called privacy policy. For one thing, no one in their right mind should seek access to a customer's credit card info without a direct need for it, and the direct unambiguous consent of the customer. Why take on the risk that a breach of EA's customer database could expose the credit card info of millions of customers if you don't have to? If I'm EA, it makes more sense to let Microsoft assume that risk in Xbox Live. Not only that, the EA poli
    • Not to mention that it is not a valid contract, so no one, absolutely no consumer, has participated the negotiating the contract. As a consequence it won't hold up in court to protect EA nor Microsoft.

      More people need to write letters to the company officers telling them explicitly that they cannot use your personal (or any collected) information outside of their direct company, including any affiliated companies. In other words, write them letters telling them that they may not sell nor transfer your inf
  • Unfortunately this is the way of the world. The only way to receive discounts without paying for some sort of membership these days is agree to loose some of your privacy. Look at the company that offers the most popular FREE products in the world: GOOGLE. Don't get me wrong, I love their products to death; however everything I search is stored somewhere to bring me a more "personalized" product. It is like the Safeway "TOS" above, they are not going to give out your information or purchase data, however th
    • by ajs318 (655362)
      And also, you can have multiple supermarket loyalty cards in multiple names and addresses; and you can delete the Google cookie as often as you like, which severs any connection between the data they harvest and the person supplying it. But you can only have one online account per games console.
    • The only way to receive discounts without paying for some sort of membership these days is agree to loose some of your privacy.

      The only way?

      Nope [canadiantire.ca]

  • I can't see what's the problem here. If you don't like what they do, don't use their products.
    You wouldn't buy a product that says "Insecure!" on the box, would you?

      -- dbg
    • by NoMaster (142776) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @08:38AM (#15943850) Homepage Journal
      You wouldn't buy a product that says "Insecure!" on the box, would you?
      Not unless the box contained a 16 year old nymphomaniac with a thing for middle-aged men...

      • Been there. Done that. Not worth the trouble.

        My midlife crisis was...interesting. When all was said and done, I should have just gotten a little red sports car. In the long run, it would have been less expensive and I could still enjoy driving it. The teenager was certainly fun to drive, but there comes a time when the faint ridiculousness of it all weighs heavily on the mind. For example, there are few things as sobering for a 40-year-old man as trying to decide what to get your girlfriend on the oc
  • by dalmiroy2k (768278) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @07:34AM (#15943739)
    I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I have a DS and I play online a lot. It is easy for me to find and open and unsecured hotspot in this city and when I play Mario Kart or Metroid, I dont have to input and username, password or credit card information. Online playing it's completely anonymous, fast and free, yet astounding fun.
    Why can't EA learn from Nintendo?

    More info on http://www.nintendowifi.com/customersupport/Suppor tHome.jsp [nintendowifi.com]
    • by ClamIAm (926466)
      The DS is not really that anonymous. If it were, it would not be possible to tie all your friend codes to your DS (which is how it's implemented, IIRC). Nintendo almost certainly tracks your system by MAC address or serial number or something.

      Of course, it is possible to be anonymous, to an extent. If you pay for your system and games with cash, and never use an access point that could be tied to you, then it's probably impossible to tie the system or the online usage to your actual person. However, you
      • by trdrstv (986999)
        Ok, The DS System / Game combo (that hashes together) isn't Truely anonymous. It needs to be that way so you can have anything other than strictly random multiplayer. You can get connection info like ip address, which DS, and times played.

        However there isn't anything that ties a specific person to that DS. So from an end user concerned with privacy it is Anonymous.

  • The policy states that MS will hand over the XBox Live account information, without stating what is in those account details. It could just be a username, or geographic details, or more. The details about acquiring credit card information is in a seperate paragraph, which includes the provisios "will vary depending upon the activity and may include".

    Whilst it makes sense for an ea.com account created when purchasing an on-line game to have the credit card information the policy, as I read it, doesn't real

    • by joe 155 (937621)
      whilst this could be innocent I'm not entirely sure that we can trust that, especially with data which should be kept so private. The thing here is that they didn't say that this wasn't happening; a simple press release or comment to Gamers' could have stopped all of this. They didn't do that... why not? Isn't it better to be overly careful with very important information?
  • Not surprising... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by enharmonix (988983) <enharmonix+slashdot@gmail.com> on Sunday August 20, 2006 @08:02AM (#15943782)
    I found some very odd little registry setting installed on my computer, thought it was a worm or something, but when I looked in it, it had a list of all EA titles on my computer. The worst was that when I installed the CoD expansion pack, it tried to phone home w/o even telling me, it just went ahead and opened up a dial-up connection running as Network Service. To me, that sounds like they infiltrated my computer. Games should not (and most do not) require administrator rights to install, but EA games do. If a game requires admin rights, that's a red flag. If only CoD2 wasn't so freaking good...

    This, to me, is spyware, and customer data collection needs to be conspicuously disclosed (not buried in an EULA*), and it needs to be opt-in only, by law.

    * The most infuriating part is that I read the EULA for CoD/CoD2, and I didn't see anything about them collecting my data and sending it home. They didn't disclose it at all.
    • Meny apps and games need administrator rights install. I think you ment to say that most games do not need admin to run. The thing with that is they need admin so they can auto update them selfs, run the cd check crap, and for things like punkbuster for on line play.

      I don't think that vista will be able to fix all of that and will popup the UAP dialog box when you try to play the game or the game will just error out if you don't run it as admin.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by enharmonix (988983)

        Meny apps and games need administrator rights install. I think you ment to say that most games do not need admin to run.

        That's just the thing, I run in limited mode and most games install just fine. XP can handle installs on just one user account, even if it's a limited account. The only reason they need those rights is to change the something specific to the OS. (I haven't checked, but DirectX probably shouldn't even require it now, since DX 9 went .NET)

        Installations aside, though, CoD/CoD2 can on

    • Re:Not surprising... (Score:4, Informative)

      by jalefkowit (101585) <jason@NOSPam.jasonlefkowitz.net> on Sunday August 20, 2006 @12:17PM (#15944476) Homepage
      The only problem with your description is that Call of Duty games [callofduty.com] are not published by EA; they're published by Activision [activision.com]. So maybe you should be griping about them and not EA.
  • by scolby (838499)
    This means they're going to know I root for the Arizona Cardinals. My reputation will be ruined!
  • by gsn (989808) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @12:07PM (#15944443)
    Section 5 of the FTC Act [ftc.gov]

    The Commission has also used its unfairness authority to challenge information practices that cause substantial consumer injury.


    Heres an information practice that could cause substantial consumer injury. EA is collecting my address, phone number, birth date, name, credit card information - usually the only other piece of information you need to charge the card is the three digit number at the back of the card. Some websites don't even require that. If you win a prize you also get to give them your SSN!!!

    Do you trust your security to a three digit number? Do you trust a giant company to not have any disgruntled employees with access to the database? And a paper and pencil to circumvent the copy restrictions on the data (if they have that even). I trust EA to publish (mostly crappy sports) games and thats all. None of the other information they collect is necessary to run EA online. The very fact that they are collecting data they do not need makes me actively distrust them. This entire implictly agreeing to hand your data over smells fishy.

    See that "File a complaint" [ftc.gov] link on the top of the FTC webpage. Ten minutes. Slashdot the damn thing - I'm sure the FTC will take notice. At very least they should be able to contact Microsoft and EA and be able to change what data is collected. Seriously the best way to deal with a stupid bunch of corporate lawyers is have a government agency snarl at them.
  • by benicillin (990784) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:22PM (#15946535)
    madden players != slashdot readers
  • EA or M$, give it to Wal-mart [walmart.com]. You can buy and Xbox Live card...with cash...pretty much anywhere.
  • I mean any site that big must be collecting statistics, e-mail addresses and what nots, and in the case of /.: opinions.

    All that has a monetary value. Does /. sell that info? I honestly don't know, but it could be. Would it be THAT surprising?

    As for MS and EA, i never put my credit card info in my console. XBOX Live is a great service, but i'm not about to provide my credit card account to the world on it.

    Just buy a card at your local retailer and input the code in your console. That's all that's required.
  • What's the big deal anyway? Microsoft and Electronics Arts have never done anything evil before, why shouldn't we trust them implicitly now?

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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