Spy your agenda and messages: the small print of the most downloaded games

They have millions of downloads, they are used to overcome boredom and endure the waiting times and, in addition, are free. However, the most popular mobile games in the app stores have one thing more in common: they all have a small print that almost nobody reads, although we should all do it. Or at least try to be aware of the huge amount of data that will collect while playing.
“It’s hard to find them, to begin with,” explains jurist Jorge Morell after analyzing the terms and conditions of the most popular mobile games of the moment. “They are in that mix of links that are on the tabs, and then there is the language barrier : if there is the Spanish version (which is not usually), sometimes they do not link it,” he says.

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‘Football Strike’, ‘ Clash Royale ‘ or ‘Super Mario Run’ are some of those applications that account for millions of downloads. But they are not the only ones. In fact, they intermingle in the Play Store rankings with other not-so-known titles from much humbler (and even created by a single developer) studios like ‘ Fut 18 Draft Simulator ‘, which only offers its legal terms in French; ‘ Flippy Knife ‘, for which there are no terms and conditions some; or ‘ Magic Tiles 3 ‘, whose privacy policy is displayed in a simple Google Doc and exclusively in English.
Beyond its own difficulty in finding, reading and understanding these sound legal texts, its analysis allows to discover some surprising conditions that the player must accept yes or yes.
Most Popular Play Store Games
Most Popular Play Store Games
On the one hand, the enormous amount of information collected by each of these services. ‘Parchis STAR’, for example, in principle only collects the email and the name of the user. However, if a purchase is made within the application or if the Facebook account is linked, the collected data is multiplied , including saving the phone number and even the contacts calendar.
Much more data is collected, for example, Nintendo through its well-known ‘ Super Mario Run ‘. The list tends to infinity: country of residence, date of birth, sex, IP, configuration of your internet connection, purchases within the ‘app’, use of the game … Everything, according to the legal text of the Japanese company, provide the service, share certain data with other players and, in addition, do statistical studies “for marketing purposes and market studies”.
However, Nintendo offers something that is not usually given in most games: short versions of their legal texts and different versions depending on the language. “It even has different policies depending on the country and they have a parent guide,” explains Morell. “It shows that they pay more attention and work harder.”
The other company that does offer reduced versions of their legal texts and a parenting guide , Supercell, is even more aggressive in a sense. The Finnish company, now owned by China’s Tencent, and responsible for the empire created around ‘Clash Royale’ not only explains that it will close the account to any user who uses tricks in the game, but also makes clear that the recordings of are officially owned . Something to keep in mind on the part of those who hang their screenshots on platforms like YouTube.

However, there is something even trickier in these legal conditions: by accepting them, you resign yourself to the fact that there is no guarantee of privacy regarding the conversations you maintain through the game itself. In other words, Supercell reserves the option of reading your chats . “Others do not tell you so straightforward, but they do not cut themselves much,” Morell says, although he clarifies that these conversations “keep them for legal issues or legal requirements.” It is usually justified in that area and, for example, ‘Apalabrados ‘I also warned you in due course. ”
These legal texts “are not always intended for Spanish or European regulations”
Además, el usuario no sabe en la mayoría de los casos a dónde irán a parar sus datos, en el sentido puramente geográfico: si bien Supercell explica que los datos se guardan en Estados Unidos y Nintendo viene a decir que la información de sus usuarios está a caballo entre Europa y Norteamérica, lo cierto es que el resto de juegos con éxito ni siquiera tocan este relevante aspecto. Lo que sí es sencillo deducir es que estos textos legales “no siempre están pensados para normativas españolas o europeas”, comenta el jurista.
But there are still more flashy pearls hidden among the long paragraphs of the conditions we accept before playing. One of them appears in the small print of ‘Football Strike’, an entertaining application to pass the time pulling on the door from the penalty spot. “If parents want to contact the company to request the removal of data or access to the information collected, they can do so only by letter or through a Swiss telephone number, ” explains Morell.
However, not everything is so anachronistic in establishing contact with the creators of the game. In fact, they assert that, stating in the letter an email address, they will contact the user via that route.
For all audiences?
The treatment of the data, the location of the servers or the dimes and directs on the ownership of the conversations are matters that should concern to any user , but they take a special importance taking into account the public that usually resort to this type of applications: the smallest of the house.
In this sense, Morell warns that most games prohibit the presence of children under 13 in their domains . In fact, if they checked the age (if that was possible) and there were users 12 years or less, they would close the account.

The only case that fits the reality is MiniClip: the company responsible for ‘Football Strike’ and ‘ Flip Master ‘ distinguishes between 13 and under 13. For the latter, among other things, the possibility of make comments and encrypt the few stored data , such as the email address used to register for games.
Whether for adults or children, legal conditions are still there, waiting for someone to have the audacity to try to read and understand them. Meanwhile, most users accept unread and, unwittingly, commit to give away “two dozen personal data , ” said Morell. Something that, however, “today is the common thing”.

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