New(-ish) Terms – Big Brother, anyone?

So I figured I’d cave in to the hype surrounding StarCraft II to log in to my account, and see whether there is an OS X download, and how much that would be. I was greeted with new terms and conditions for my account that I had to agree on.

There were two boxes, one with a ton of relatively regular sounding terms. Then a second box with this:

Chat Agreement

In order to provide the Service, Blizzard must be entitled to access, monitor and/or review text chat, including private, or “whisper” chat, in the event of complaints from other users or violations of the law. By clicking the check box below, you agree that Blizzard (or one of Blizzard’s affiliates) has the right to monitor and review personal messages you send or receive on the Service, or through any game that is playable through the Service, to investigate potential violations of the law, the Terms of Use, or the Terms of Use agreement specific to any game playable on the Service. Blizzard will not use the information for any reason other than pursuing such violations.

[ ] I consent to Blizzard monitoring and/or reviewing my personal messages.

Uhh… privacy?

Fuck no, Blizzard, you’re not law enforcement.

The law gives police the right to do all of the above if sufficient reasons exist for doing so. You don’t need the same power.

You cannot be allowed to have the same rights without making a mockery of democracy; there’s a ton of good reasons why you shouldn’t have that power, and why having that power is privilege restricted to a very small set of government officials.

No. Just no. This is not 1984.

  • Rick

    No kidding, plus they state they dont sell the game, just a license to use it but only for as long as activision/blizzard wants to and they can terminate this anytime and for “NO REASON”, and they also expect a family to buy a license for each kid that wants to play, ‘oh no timmy you cant play starcraft 2 on the family computer even if no one on it cause we only have a license for johnny thats now in summer camp’, give me a freaking break, greedy Geko cigar $moking co#aine snorting CEOs have lost all contact with reality (and their clients). Plus, have you tried just to delete a battlenet account or change the name, theres no way to do it, your locked in orwellian red tape, Apple’s getting orwellian too but at least you can very easily edit any and all account information which you cant do with Battlenet.

    • unwesen

      Well, you never really buy software, that much I understand. You only ever buy a license to use it. But usually there’s no way that license can be terminated for no reason.

      Eh, I’m just going to avoid Blizzard’s games now, I think.

  • warm

    You are mixing concepts.

    Democracy has nothing to do with it..

    Think of it that way… if somebody comes to your house and knocks on your door, you have every right to ask them who they are and frankly anything you want to know … if that person is unwilling to answer your questions he/she is free to leave.

    In other words, you have no inherent right to privacy … these rights only exist in relation to government and that’s because governments are equipped with powers to arrest and imprison.

    There is nothing wrong with Blizzard setting their own rules just like there is nothing wrong with you refusing to accept them.

    • unwesen

      Democracy has nothing to do with it.

      Actually, it does.

      First, any form of government is formed by the citizens giving up powers to the government. In a democracy, they presumably do so willingly, and are entitled to regain some of them by being elected into positions of power. Also in democracies, government exists in part to protect the basic human rights of people, including the right to privacy. That is Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

      So effectively the power to investigate your private affairs is transferred to the state, but under the restraint that the state may exercise it only if there is sufficient reason to believe that without doing so the rights of other citizens would be violated.

      Second, and that’s just a footnote really, most of the working democracies in the world are based on the principle of separation of powers; that means that it’s not all government bodies that have the right to invade your privacy under extenuating circumstances, but only a restricted few.

      Privacy is a big part of democracy.

      There is nothing wrong with Blizzard setting their own rules just like there is nothing wrong with you refusing to accept them.

      Again, that’s patently untrue. Blizzard as an entity operating in a democratic state is subject to the laws of said democracy just like any other citizen; in fact, since Blizzard is not a natural but a legal person, slightly different rules apply… and generally speaking, natural persons have more rights.

      Now I’ll grant you that you probably misunderstood my post to be saying that Blizzard was acting against democratic laws. That’s not what I meant, though it may well be the case in some countries.

      I meant that Blizzard is acting against democratic principles. It bothers me when a company does that just as much as when a government or individual does that.