So… Elder Scrolls Online is about to be released! Yay… then I clicked on the EULA they posted online because… well just because. I don’t know, I am about to teach my Virtual Worlds class again this term and I thought this might give me some interesting things to talk about in class since MMOs (or virtual worlds) have been characterized as digital enclosures in which total surveillance takes place.
I was not disappointed. At least these guys are openly admitting to it. Here is an excerpt from their End User License Agreement or what is affectionately referred to as the EULA by the players:
6. Consent to Monitor. THE GAME MAY MONITOR YOUR COMPUTER, INCLUDING ITS MEMORY FOR UNAUTHORIZED PROGRAMS RUNNING CONCURRENTLY WITH THE GAME. AN “ UNAUTHORIZED PROGRAM” IS ANY SOFTWARE PROHIBITED BY THE LICENSE LIMITATIONS SET FORTH ABOVE. IN THE EVENT THAT THE GAME DETECTS AN UNAUTHORIZED PROGRAM, THE GAME MAY (a) COMMUNICATE INFORMATION BACK TO ZENIMAX, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION YOUR ACCOUNT NAME, DETAILS ABOUT THE UNAUTHORIZED PROGRAM DETECTED, AND THE TIME AND DATE; AND/OR (b) EXERCISE ANY OR ALL OF ITS RIGHTS UNDER THIS AGREEMENT, WITH OR WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE TO THE USER.
You consent to ZeniMax uploading CPU, operating system, video card, sound card and memory information from your computer to analyze and optimize your Game experience, improve and maintain the Game and/or provide you with customer service. Furthermore, if you request any technical support, you consent to ZeniMax remotely accessing and reviewing the computer onto which you have loaded the Game Client for purposes of providing technical support and debugging.
Solely for the purpose of patching and updating the Game and/or Game Client and ensuring the integrity of the Game, you hereby grant ZeniMax permission to (i) upload Game-related file information and data from the Game directory and (ii) download Game files to you.
You agree that any and all Game related character data is stored and is resident on ZeniMax computers and servers, and any and all communications that you make within the Game (including, but not limited to, messages solely directed at another player or group of players) traverse through ZeniMax computers and servers, may or may not be monitored by us or our agents, you have no expectation of privacy in any such communications and expressly consent to such monitoring of communications you send and receive .
I guess this is to crack down on griefing and cheating, but man, doesn’t this make you feel like you’ve sold your soul to the devil!