George Lucas Is Watching You

George Lucas Is Watching You

Okay, for the scant few fans of Star Wars or MMORPGs that just awoke from their coma, first of all congratulations! Glad to see you back. Second, LucasArts and Bioware made an announcement that stunned the internet today (since absolutely no one has known about this for the last two freakin’ years)…Star Wars: The Old Republic, the new MMO.

(I have fairly high hopes for this game thanks to Bioware’s involvement, but there’s already enough coverage/talk/bitching about cartoony graphics out there to choke a bantha, so you’ll find none of that here…today, at least. But feel free to add me as a friend at the new TOR site…just click here to go to my profile page.)

Today’s announcement did bring something else to mind, however…specifically iTunes and Adobe.

Stay with me for a moment; I’m getting there.

funny-pictures-orange-jabba-cat.jpgAlmost a year ago, there was quite a bit of eFuror© due to a post entitled “Lies, Lies and Adobe Spies” at UNEASYsilence about the fact that, when you launch an Adobe CS3 program, it connects to what appears to be an IP on your local network.

What it’s actually doing is connecting to the 2o7.net (that’s the letter “o,” not a zero) server of a company called Omniture, which makes its money providing website traffic analytics and “aggregate behavioral tracking”. The upshot of this is that it installs a cookie on your computer to track what you do on the site…fairly standard internet stuff that happens all the time…trust me.

The same type of problem made headlines in 2006 when it was discovered that iTunes was tracking what you listened to. Take a guess what company was providing that service for Apple?

No, not PopCap. Pay attention.

(The SW:TOR stuff is coming…just stay with me.)

What’s not quite so standard is the reason why Omniture feels it necessary to do so through a spoofed local network IP, using the letter “o” instead of a zero. The entire process gives a fairly common practice the air of suspicious behavior, as was stated by Adobe’s John Nack when the issue came up. And the official answer to the question of “Why use such a suspicious-looking method to do this?”

Would you believe “We don’t know.”?

Now, let’s take a little field trip over to the LucasArts website…specifically the LucasArts privacy policy page: Appendix A, where we find listed under “Aggregate Behavioral Tracking”….

Omniture.

This, of course, explains why you will see the IP “eaeacom.112.2o7.net” pop up when you download one of the spiffy wallpapers at the new SW:TOR site.

Which means that LucasArts is using a sometimes-controversial web service to install atarp.jpg cookie on your computer to track what you do at the new site. A big deal? Probably not. However, different people have varying degrees of feeling about this type of thing, so I thought you’d like to know.

I’ll go into my theory that it’s being used to determine what to keep in the game and what to take out based on what gets the most attention from visitors at the new site another time; instead, I’ll leave you with two quotes…the first from the Omniture “What is 2o7.net?” page:

Omniture will not review, share, distribute, print, or reference any session data of visitors to the customer websites except as requested by the customer or as may be required by law.

It is very important that you review the respective privacy policy of each website that you visit, because such privacy policies govern the use of information on those websites, including our customer’s use of Omniture products and services where applicable.

And now, to the aforementioned privacy policy page at LucasArts that mentions Omniture:

As part of the advertising process, these agencies or our partners who assist us in ad-serving or in assessing behavioral patterns may place cookies or web beacons on your computer. These agencies and partners are not governed by the Privacy Policy of this site.

So Omniture tells us to read the privacy policy of LucasArts, since that governs the use of information collected by Omniture. The LucasArts privacy watchmen_smiley.gifpolicy, meanwhile, tells us that Omniture isn’t bound by their privacy policy.

Who watches the watchmen?

Apparently, no one.

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3 Responses to “George Lucas Is Watching You”

  1. Add you as a friend?
    I don’t know.

    That’s quite a commitment. :)

  2. Don’t make me come over there. :p

  3. Wow!

    Good article. Looking forward for more!

    http://opbids.com shows you how to get free stuff online. Check it out!

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