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Blogs Why We Need Origin

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by arcticstoat, 6 Oct 2011.

  1. AstralWanderer

    AstralWanderer New Member

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    Any system that involves compulsory online activation (Securom Online, Steam, Direct2Drive, Ubisoft, etc) will qualify as "spyware" to some extent because they all involve user monitoring (of installs/uninstalls at least for the likes of Securom or Direct2Drive, of game usage and progress in the case of Steam or Ubisoft - see Big Brother is watching you play for some background).

    MMOs will also almost certainly involve similar tracking, both as feedback for game developers (which can be good or bad thing depending on user perspective - their ultimate goal is to make it as hard as possible to stop playing and paying) and cheat detection.

    The EULA is probably the best indicator of publishers' intentions - EA Origins' has had a makeover (see RockPaperShotgun: Origin EULA Gets A Makeover and Joystiq: EA revises Origin EULA; data collection is still in, collection for marketing is out) but it looks to be cosmetic (check the wording here - take particular note of sections 2 and 5).

    So if you care about your privacy, steer clear of Origin, but also check the policies of other online providers (the comments in RockPaperShotgun highlight a number of unpleasant clauses in various MMOs and Steam's EULA has a number of problematic clauses too - see sections 4B, 5, 7 and 9C).
     
  2. Krazeh

    Krazeh Well-Known Member

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  3. Zurechial

    Zurechial Elitist

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    Anyone who is concerned about (or doubtful of) the claims of Origin being a piece of spyware should watch its activity with Process Monitor and make their own minds up one way or the other.
    I'm not really keen on the tinfoil-hat-brigade sensationalism that's been going on, but I would strongly advocate anyone who has their doubts either way to check it out for themselves and make their own mind up.

    My own conclusion is simply that Origin is doing things I never asked it to, things it doesn't need to do. It's accessing files that are nothing to do with it and nothing to do with Battlefield 3.
    That was reason enough for me to go through an hour or so of hassle in setting it up inside a Sandbox rather than allowing it free access to my files.
    For fairness' sake you could also observe Steam's activity and compare the two, but I simply haven't witnessed Steam doing anything untoward yet - Whereas Origin was up to mischief within minutes.

    If you watch Origin's activity with process monitor and happen to be comfortable with what it does and what it accesses then fair enough - Enjoy the reduced hassle; but I think it would be good for more people to be fully aware of what EA think their application can do just because of a EULA.

    Either way, I'm glad that the whole situation introduced me to such an awesome piece of software as Sandboxie. I'll buy a full copy of it from the developer once I get my next paycheck, as it's a great app for a paranoiac like me. :D
     
  4. AstralWanderer

    AstralWanderer New Member

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    The "out of date" version is still hosted on EA.com while the "update" isn't. As noted by the articles linked to above, the update is cosmetic (with feel-good no-commitment phrases like "EA knows that you care..." being overruled later on) and still contains the most objectionable provisions - marketing usage of personal data has just been farmed out to their privacy policy, see section VI.B.
     
    Last edited: 30 Oct 2011
  5. Krazeh

    Krazeh Well-Known Member

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    I did run Process Monitor while I had Origin running and all I saw it doing was accessing an ini file within my origin folder and occasionally accessing the origin cloud. Not something I'd consider to be particularly untoward. Exactly how long were you watching it for before it started doing things you weren't happy with?

    What relevance does that have to anything? The 'updated' copy is linked to from EA's EULA page and is the current EULA regardless of where EA have decided to host it.

    I think we'll have to disagree with the extent to which the update is merely cosmetic and what are objectionable provisions.
     
  6. Zurechial

    Zurechial Elitist

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    I left it for around 20 minutes or so during a mixture of afking and playing BF3; and it started doing things like parsing the structure of my ProgramData folder(s) and, for some odd-but-kinda-suspicious reason also parsing the contents of my WoW folder; amongst many others.
    Unfortunately, ProcMon ran up a huge amount of memory in recording events for that long and crashed before I took the chance to screencap it.

    Simply put though, it was accessing a huge amount of folders that had absolutely nothing to do with Origin.
    For instance, Origin is installed at "H:\Origin" for me, but it was accessing folders on my apps drive ( F: ) and querying the contents of Program Files (and the x86 equivalent) on C:, F: and H:

    Now, Origin's behaviour may be entirely benign and innocent here; but I'm just not comfortable with it doing that.
    It isn't reason enough for me to go burning my copy of BF3 and calling a class-action lawsuit against EA, but it's certainly enough for me to go to the trouble of sandboxing the damn thing.
     
  7. AstralWanderer

    AstralWanderer New Member

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    Process Monitor is a damn fine utility - but diagnosing results can be a little tricky. The behaviour it reported could be Origin itself, but it could also be due to third-party software injecting a DLL into Origin (Process Explorer can be used to check what DLLs are present in a process) - any activities by DLLs would be reported as belonging to the parent process.

    Since you mentioned the WoW folder being checked, maybe you have some Blizzard/Activision anti-cheat software behaving this way? (or possibly some WoW-targeting malware).
     
  8. Zurechial

    Zurechial Elitist

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    Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I'll check it again another time; but I'm quite confident that Warden (WoW's anticheat) would not have been a factor, since that only runs when WoW itself is running and I was testing Origin after a fresh reboot too.

    I'm also fairly confident that I don't have any malware or viruses for the same reason that the whole Origin spyware thing concerns me. I'm paranoid. ;)
     
  9. impar

    impar Well-Known Member

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    Greetings!
    EA :sigh:
     
  10. Stickeh

    Stickeh Help me , Help you.

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    Add burnout paradise to basket> checkout > use promo code PARADISE at the bottom, no need to enter CC details, just name and address, BINGO free burnout paradise game :)
     
  11. AstralWanderer

    AstralWanderer New Member

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    Guess we shouldn't expect a leopard to change its spots.
     
  12. impar

    impar Well-Known Member

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    Greetings!

     
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