Always Watching: HI-Rez violates user privacy, breaks their own EULA

Michael Dunaway
By Michael Dunaway, News Editor July 12, 2013
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Well this couldn't possibly have come at a worse time for HI-Rez. Currently, the whole world is in a heightened state of alarm concerning agencies monitoring and collecting data on them. So the recent discovery of unauthorized monitoring by HI-Rez is at the very least a terrible headline to have at the moment.

According to a user named FAERayo, HI-Rez has stepped out of the boundaries set in place by its own EULA. In the EULA HI-Rez states it may only monitor the computer while the game is running, during which it collects data regarding your use and play of the product. Mostly, the monitoring software is used to spot hacks and ban the offenders IP. However, FAERayo has discovered evidence that shows the program runs from the moment your computer boots and scans for blacklisted software until you shut it down. The process info is hidden and cannot be stopped from the launcher.

FAERayo has even provided video evidence (found below) that shows running blacklist software while a HI-Rez game is closed will ban your IP from all HI-Rez official servers. Of course cheating is wrong and doing so deserves a ban, but what programs you run outside of using HI-Rez products isn't their business. According to FAERayo, HI-Rez has largely ignored his requests for a straightforward response on the issue.

A word to the wise, the Reddit thread contains directions on how to replicate the steps from the video. By doing so you will ban your IP permanently from HI-Rez games which obviously may not be the greatest thing to do, or maybe it would.

We have reached out to HI-Rez for further comment.

EDIT: Todd Harris, HI-Rez COO has responded to me via email:

Thanks for reaching out for comment.

HiPatchService is actually part of our product. It performs several functions, the most obvious one being patching the game with updates for users who desire that. Therefore it does run in the background in order to check for patches from the server. But users can easily disable the background loading functionality via the Options tab. Or they can simply disable that HiPatchService process entirely until they want to start our game.

We made it very obvious in the EULA that blacklisted software should not be used if you want to play Hi-Rez games.

In our EULA, players accept monitoring by the "Software Product" which includes the game client itself as well as supporting programs like HiPatchService.

In our EULA, players also explicitly agree that they will not "under any circumstances... use automation software (bots), hacks, mods or any other unauthorized third-party software"

Our overall policy against cheating and blacklisted software is also consistent with other online game providers such as Steam.

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In this article: Hi-Rez, Privacy.

About the Author

Michael Dunaway
Michael Dunaway, News Editor
Michael Dunaway has been part of the MMOBomb team for years and has covered practically every major Free-to-Play title since 2009.

Discussion (42)

Rob Tien 8 years ago
Wow! I've been having this damn program running on my computer since i paid for boring ass Global Agenda but don't even play it. So its been doing its thing for a few years now and I was totally oblivious. Thanks for putting this story out there.

PiercingArro 8 years ago
Hi-Rez COO also said that you could disable the HiPatchService until they want to get on the game.

PiercingArro 8 years ago
Just because they didn't use it to modify the Software Product, the Service or the SMITE experience doesn't mean that it's not designed to do stuff like that. This video was also on YouTube and it broke the YouTube policy. They did not say anything about Hi-Rez forcing the video to be removed.

View 2 replies
Urs0 8 years ago
really bad attitude from Hi-Rez, their EULA says clearly that you can't "use cheats, automation software (bots), hacks, mods or any other unauthorized third-party software, tools or content designed to modify the Software Product, the Service or the SMITE experience;", if someone is not playing or patching the game, they can't ban...

they gave almost no response to that, their official site and forums they also don't even talk about it... and is even worse to see that the video was removed, leading us to believe that they have something to hide

really sad, I believed that they were a good company, but this changed my mind, and researching more, found out that they won't make content for tribes for at least 6 months because the devs are giving priority to smite (that also seems that they are starting to neglect the game)

well, I won't touch in a Hi-rez game anymore

anip 8 years ago
really?

I know some games also require you to open up their "launcher", if you close it, it closes your game (there's a work around tho)

And wasn't this type of functions already inside those "anti-hack" programs game's uses?
IE: Hackshield, it will not let you run the game or will close the game by itself if it detect a "hack"... yes, even anti-virus sometimes triggers it.

Gamer X 8 years ago
WOAH okay HI REZ why ? why are you doing that ? that's my own f***in computer and you rarley see anyone hacking anyway I am disappointed Hi rez for a company of great games I am really disappointed...

View 2 replies
QuintessenceHD 8 years ago
Wow, the video has been removed. So that is their final comment, they are going to try to cover it up. Cowardly bastards.

Default 8 years ago
Are you guys really surprised?
We're talking Hi-Rez here, haven't you seen what they did with Tribes?

The company makes decent games but they are ethically and morally unstable. That's reason enough for me to not play any of their games.

kaotics 8 years ago
Let's hope the program uninstalls properly with the game client...

Twitchfan 8 years ago
Already uninstalled since I checked myself and the service itself does indeed scan even if I don't play Smite. Yeah no thanks.

calmdown 8 years ago
I haven't met any cheaters in HIREZ games which is great,so this all time monitoring must be effective.

make 8 years ago
copied from reddit:
1) CTRL+ALT+DEL > task manager > click the services tab > click the "name" heading > scroll down to "HiPatchService" > right click "HiPatchService" > click "stop service".

2) Start > type "services.msc" in "search programs and files" > click the "name" heading > scroll to "Hi-Rez Studios Authenticate and Update Service" > right click and click "Properties" > set "Startup Type" to manual.

If you don't want this service to run on your computer when you're not playing, you will have to repeat step 1 every time you close the game.

Step 2 stops the service from automatically starting when you boot up your computer.

This will in no way impede your ability to play or update the game.

Rockmeo 8 years ago
just sue them for braking privacy policy , and bankrupt their company , go ally with another game company , and take all their money .... so easy ...

I HATE THEM 8 years ago
They r watching... One day they will take over your PCs and your Visa Cards... When you stop playing they will take your money away... *They are watching*..................


Again, they are bunch of stupid idiots. Its my freaking PC , i will do what i want when i want, how ever i want. Its non of their f***ing business unless it involves anything with their crap.

Should be freaking sued for breaking EULA and cheating players !

Draugen 8 years ago
the illuminati is watching you XP

LOL!! 8 years ago
The funny thing is... If a friend plays smite, or a game from this company, They will get banned without them knowing what's going on, xD ( On the computer which is ip banned ofc).
But yes... This is stupid, I want to cheat on offline games like civilization 5 (Yeah im noob... don't judge me). With cheat engine, just to get banned from a game im loyal to... (don't play smite though, but if it was LOL, that's a diffrent story).

Deathisnear24 8 years ago
This is pretty scummy for Hi-Rez. I don't play either Smite or Tribes so I can't really speak from a players perspective but this is really f*** stupid. If a company wants to monitor everything you do with your computer why not include a human with every download that comes to your house and watches you while your computer is on.

70calories 8 years ago
this is a love/hate thing for me I find it to be an amazing thing seeing as how as long as your using there software they are closely monitoring players activity to prevent hacking/cheating because all it does is ruins the game for others however the fact that they do it with out your knowledge does not settle well with me if they can do that they can just as easily view other more privet files on your computer and that's unsettling

extasist 8 years ago
on facebook in one of the videos i asked "whats up with "Always Watching: HI-Rez violates user privacy, breaks their own EULA"" i got chat ban and my massage was deleted, and now it only makes me wonder...

Grevesz 8 years ago
im realy scared

SweeTThing 8 years ago
I hope this information is just trolling by someone because, like other games wasnt doing it for ages. Nice info for new people, but please, theres no problem.

Toby 8 years ago
It was actually FAERayo not ACEMatt who made the tread, and the video, at least give the guy credit.

Eviil 8 years ago
I don't see it as a problem if the software is specifically looking for cheating related material. If it were to scan other things not related to any cheating software, that will be a big no no. San me away, im free from it.

View 2 replies
Bic Boi 8 years ago
Hi-Rez really stepped out of line here. Next thing you know, others might get this nifty idea that it's okay (which it most certainly IS NOT). Big brother is watching..

hovsep 8 years ago
WOOOW so when players break their eula its a big fuking deal but when HI-rez breaks their OWN rules we should just ignore it ? espeacily when its privacy breaking ?

TheHotShot 8 years ago
It's strange that people want to defend and take the word of a person who makes a video showing himself using cheat programs.

View 2 replies
Gamer X 8 years ago
I can't get it ... WTF is this so Hi-Rez is go to find your computer information while play the game to check if you're hacking ? sorry about the question but seriously you're making me afraid from playing tribes :P

Okofire 8 years ago
Nice music in the video :3
Glad i dont play those crappy games.

View 1 reply
Smite is Watching 8 years ago
They are watching..


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