According to Gamasutra, the hacker group know as Razor1911, best know for pirating games on torrent sites, has made it possible for PC players of Battlefield 3 to run it without requiring Origin in the picture. Razor1911 said this:
“This release is dedicated to our fans worldwide who bought this game on [sic] legal way and don’t want to install the trojan from Electronic Arts to play online.”
This is not the first time Origin has been described as spyware by its user base, but not all of the accusations have been unfounded either. A few months ago EA had to update the Origins EULA because of language that suggested EA could use data collected through Origin as they saw fit, without the user’s consent.
Earlier this week, according Eurogamer, a local news paper in Germany the Spiegel, printed an article after images became public apparently showing Origin accessing external programs and data synced from mobile phones, essentially acting just like spyware. The article also went into detail about how the Origin EULA also violates German laws, with local retailers offering refunds on Battlefield 3 even after the key had been redeemed. EA was quick to refute these claims stating:
“We have updated the End User License Agreement of Origin, in the interests of our players to create more clarity. 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. Origin’s license agreement matches “industry-standard privacy policies”, but where necessary, we will of course work together with the relevant Government agencies to ensure that our policies are and remain legally compliant.”
Analysis:This is not the first time they have had to “update” the EULA to clarify what Origin will collect and that it will not collect and send data to third parties. I am not wholly confident in Razor1911’s solution either; it could still take my info and send it to third parties unknown as well, including my login info. I will need to see more before I trust this. Besides, will this crack work for every update of the game? It’s hard to say but usually after a release and a few updates, no one updates their cracks for the latest version.
I wanted to play Battlefield 3 so I bit the bullet to trust in EA and Origin, even after all the crap they had pulled with their previous download service not being able to download your games after a certain amount of time and being caught red-handed with data collection for targeted ads in Battlefield 2142. I am not going to say that I regret that decision just yet, but my confidence in EA is waning. Seriously, how many times do you need to clarify a EULA?
EA needs to get the confidence of its users back, and just saying Origin isn’t acting like spyware isn’t going to cut it any longer. This is break or make time right now for Origin and if hacker groups keep doing things like this, along with others supposedly showing your program pulling this crap, it will break it.