|Pictured: Origin spying on one of its|
In what has to be the most abhorrent move since GameStop decided it was cool to open sealed games, discard certain contents, and re-seal them to sell as "new," EA's End User License Agreement for their Steam wanna-be Origin states that, by agreeing to it, you're giving EA permission to track all sorts of personal and computer information. Among the list of tracked items are: personal information, computer information, application usage, software and software usage, and peripheral hardware usage. The rationale for this invasion? "Marketing purposes," and the usual "to improve our products and services" spiel.
The Web has, predictably, been thrown into a state of mass vitriol spewing hysteria as it's known to do in light of debacles like this. To be fair, though, Steam, as the Giant Bomb story points out, does the same thing upon installing their own client. The difference, however, is that Steam, unlike Origin, allows you to opt-out of the data tracking. It's completely voluntary.. For Origin, no such option exists. If you want to use the service, and you will undoubtedly be forced to if you want to play online-enabled EA titles (say, Battlefield 3), regardless of whether you buy it digitally or physically, you have to accept the bogus agreement and let them go about their nosy business.
I'm puzzled by what makes EA think they can do this. Stealing -- oh, I'm sorry -- "voluntarily" collecting data on the hard drive level is just despicable. Hopefully they'll realize the error of their ways rectify this egregious course of action.