Privacy Experts: Legislation Needed To Curb Video Game Spyware

Computer games are high on wish lists for teens this holiday season.

However, some of those games could be hazardous to your computer and your privacy.

The company that makes the game “Battlefield 2142” is Electronic Arts, a trailblazer in computerized entertainment.

But EA is also blazing a different trail, using this particular game to reach into users’ computers.

“It basically said they’re going to be using advertising and data on your computer,” said computer gamer Ryan Arp.

Arp learned about the company’s use of spyware in the game after he opened the package, losing his right to return it.

A card inserted in the packaging said:

By installing and using the software, you agree to:

  • the transfer of advertising data to servers located outside of your country of residence
  • the collection and use of advertising data
  • the delivery of advertising and marketing content

    “Many people might have problems running the game and the company recommended that if you were to have this problem, you should uninstall a critical Microsoft security update,” said Arp.

    In other words, users are told to remove a patch that protects computers from viruses and other assaults.

    Bob Fellmeth, founder of the California Children’s Advocacy Institute, said, “Your child is being used to put a Trojan horse into your system. I think if you’ve got a mechanical devices and it uses information for marketing or asks to remove a patch, there needs to be a disclosure before you buy it.”

    “There is a technology that looks at all activity the entire family participates in. This is particularly vile and calls for legislation,” said Beth Givens of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

    State Assemblymember Lori Saldana said she might be the one who introduces that bill.

    “A parental notice telling them private information might be at risk is important to have,” said Saldana.

    10News contacted Electronic Arts, asking the company to voluntarily post a notice on the outside of its game packaging or to remove the spyware altogether.

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