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Privacy: OnLive Desktop Plus Adds Flash To Your iPad, Also Tracks Everything You Do In Realtime

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Apple certainly is not planning to bring Adobe Flash to their iOS devices, in fact they iBlocked it. But OnLive has managed to find a way to go around that, and much more. The company’s OnLive Desktop Plus, the new version of their OnLive Desktop remote access app, will allow you access to an entire PC remotely which is equipped with Flash.

In case you are new to all this, OnLive, which was founded by Steve Perlman (famous for his Quicktime video and WebTV), started streaming full 3d games (cloud gaming) across the net to desktops, laptops, and tablets, before putting Windows on the iPad. Their OnLive Desktop iPad application allowed users to play with cloud-based Windows desktop and Windows applications.

Their newly released update to the application brings gigabit-speed accelerated browsing with support for Adobe Flash, something that iFans have long wished for.

According to OnLive CEO Steve Perlman, “You can expect even the most elaborate Flash websites to load in seconds, even if it would have taken your home computer minutes to load the same page. Animation, video and sound come through impeccably and instantly. And, large cloud storage files and Web email attachments—even 50 MB PowerPoint presentations—to upload or download in less than a second”.

The folks over at Wired.com got to play with OnLive’s Flash browser earlier, and they are talking about download speeds of at least 100 megabits.  But there’s a few things Wired, and many other mainstream media outlets did not talk about, Privacy.

The service will run you $4.99 per month, it essentially gives you access to a remote version of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe Reader, and also 2GB of cloud-based storage.  But all your data, even your actions, clicks and sites you visit are remotely cataloged in the cloud on OnLive servers by your IP Address.

Website & Service Logs: OnLive may collect information in the form of website and/or service logs (collectively “Logs”). These Logs are files that record activity on the Websites and Services and gather statistics about users’ activities, such as how many users have visited the Websites, how often, how many “hits” a particular webpage has received, sign-in and sign-off times for the Services, type and quality of the user’s Internet connection to the Services, identification of the user’s hardware and software running the Services, which features on the Services you used, and the frequency of use. The entries comprising the Logs contain IP addresses, user IDs, email addresses, and identification of the Internet service provider that provides your connection to the Internet. Generally, we use the Logs to operate and improve the Websites and Services, to identify the popularity of certain features, to assist with internal marketing and demographic studies, to enable us to assess overall efficiency and activity on the Websites and Services, and to assess users’ web-browsing and Service activities, preferences, and habits. We also use the Logs to monitor traffic on the Websites and Services, to troubleshoot technical problems, to support OnLive CS operations, for security reasons, and to foster the safety of the Websites and Services.

OnLive’s Privacy Policy elegantly goes on to gather additional information of its users, but of course, at the users consent by  being required to agree to the Privacy Policy (last updated Feb. 22 2012) upon registration.  Like how non-personal demographic information can be cataloged, then referenced back to your original Personal Profile by their wording under Player Tags, Screen Names and Player Profiles which allows these credentials to log onto OnLive Desktop to be tracked in the same way.

Player Tags, Screen Names and Player Profiles: Your Player Tag on the OnLive Game Service and Screen Name on OnLive Desktop can be used interchangeably. This means that if you have an Account set up on the OnLive Game Service with a Player Tag and password, you can use these credentials to log onto OnLive Desktop. Conversely, if you have a Screen Name and password on OnLive Desktop, these credentials can be used to log onto the OnLive Game Service. Player Tags and Screen Names are unique OnLive identifiers that can be seen on the OnLive Websites and Services. Player Profiles are personal summaries on the OnLive Game Service that may include the user’s Player Tag, presence on the Services, last log-on, use of content, gameplay statistics, and stated city, region or country location that can be seen on the OnLive Websites and OnLive Game Service. In some cases, Player Tags and Player Profiles from the OnLive Websites and Services, may be made public by OnLive, our affiliates, subsidiaries, licensors, partners, or suppliers for the purposes of leaderboards, enhancing multiplayer gameplay, tournaments, and marketing and promotion efforts, and in providing us with such information you consent to such disclosure. Because Player Tags and Player Profiles may be widely viewed we caution users to avoid using any personally identifiable information when creating Player Tags and Player Profiles. We do not consider Player Tags, Screen Names or Player Profiles to be Personal Information, as used in this Privacy Policy.

 

But it’s all in good business, the company wants to collect your demographic data which is valuable to marketers, and most likely Microsoft too; since they are providing the entire office suite of apps:

 

Non-Personal Demographic Information: If you choose to complete surveys or your Player Profile, you may provide certain demographic information about yourself such as information about your lifestyle, personal tastes, purchasing habits, city and state, province or territory, education, job, and income.

Then they link it all back to you:

In connection with our provision of the Websites and Services, we may collect the following non-personal information from you. The information identified in this section may be combined with Personal Information in order to assist OnLive with community management, customer support, and technical support. Information About Your Computer and Connection to the Internet: We may collect information about your computer, hardware, device, software, platform, media, Internet IP address, connection information, geographic IP information, and details concerning your Internet service provider. This is statistical data about our users’ browsing actions and patterns, and does not identify any individual.

Of course, this being a cloud-based service with remote access to services for you, it can also be remotely accessed by someone else; OnLive’s monitoring tracker can let their staff jump on and see what you are doing in realtime:

Communications Within the Services: OnLive may access and collect information about user email, instant messaging sessions, video, text chats, Friend requests, online group activity, and any other forms of communication within the Services and users expressly consent to OnLive monitoring, collecting, recording (in the case of Brag Clip videos or video clips of user activity on OnLive Desktop, when social features including voice chat are enabled on OnLive Desktop) and accessing these forms of communication.

At only $4.99 per month, what a bargain to get access to Adobe Flash and all those great Microsoft Office apps.  In the meantime, I’ll stick to software like Oracle’s OpenOffice which allows me to keep my data on my own devices and to my own eyes.

About Leo Xavier

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