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  • Daniel D. Sanders

Understanding Privacy Law and Take-Two interactive

Take-Two Interactive Software is a video game ownership company that owns many successful video game properties including 2K Sports and the Rockstar Games. Examining Take-Two’s privacy policy is a good way to get a feel for how privacy policy, and specifically Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is applicable in the video gaming industry.





Responding to Criticism of Take Two’s Privacy Law

Take Two’s privacy policy applies across the board to all of its products and all online users. Simply put, if you’re playing a Take Two game, their privacy policy applies. Take Two has faced criticism on forums for how it collects data. Some users were under the impression that the software company can only collect data in certain scenarios, such as in cases when the user is applying for a job or requesting technical support. In fact, this is not the case.


If you look closely at Take Two’s privacy policy, it says that when it takes personal information it “usually” takes the form of: and then it lists times in which it collects users’ information. However, the use of “usually” allows the list to be non-exhaustive, meaning that some of the times in which they collect data are listed, but not all of the forms in which they collect are given. In this case “usually” could be interpreted as “including but not limited to,” allowing them to present a version that appears less intrusive to users.


The privacy policy continues with the type of information that they collect. Included in this are the user’s IP address, location and photo. It also allows for them to access information about you via connected social media applications. This creates a slippery slope because in collecting this information, the company can also take a user’s ID number and link it with all the other information they’ve collected about the user.


Advertisers Collecting Information

While users may not completely mind software companies collecting their data, what will worry most users is the reality that Take Two can sell those ID numbers that include all that information to third party advertising agencies. Take Two explicitly says that they work with third party advertisers in their privacy policy. Specifically, Take Two's Civilization gaming series came under intense criticism for collecting a worrisome amount of personal information. Users discovered an ad-tracking software in the game called Red Shell. Red Shell collected data about the game’s users for what it claimed was advertising purposes. Outcry from users pushed the developers at Civilization to remove Red Shell, but it appears that the game still returned to collecting user data.


The fact is that just about every video game that connects through the internet is collecting some sort of data about its users. Agreeing to Take Two's policy as a user is also essentially agreeing to all of the privacy policies of third party advertising agencies as well. These advertising agencies can then combine information about a user from multiples sources from which they’ve collected to create what basically amounts to an online biography of a user through their data.


Requesting Data

While Take Two has access to a tremendous amount of user data, it does allow for users to submit a request to delete or get a copy of all the PII that they have collected on them. However, this does not mean it will necessarily be granted and in many cases it can come after the information has already been sold to third parties.


Protecting Yourself and your data

Take Two’s privacy policy may appear to be non-user friendly, but the reality is that it’s similar to the privacy policies for most software and video gaming companies. A company like Take Two isn’t just in the video gaming industry, they’re also a major player in the big data industry. The big data market is projected to bring in more than $200 billion by 2020. By comparison, the video gaming industry produced $135 billion in 2018, so it makes sense that the two industries will continue to synergize to be mutually beneficial. As a user, it’s important to be aware of what you’re signing up for and understand that your information is at risk should you choose to use these companies’ products. The more educated you can become on a product’s privacy policy, the more comfortable you can be using it.

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