Sony May “Monitor and Record” PSN Voice and Text Communications

Sony has updated the PlayStation 4 Software Usage Terms, which now include a clause stating that the company may monitor and record your PSN activity, including the content of voice and text communications.

Sony states it cannot monitor “all PSN activity” and makes “no commitment to do so.”

“However, we reserve the right in our sole discretion to monitor and record any or all of your PSN activity and to remove any of your UGM [User-Generated Content] at our sole discretion, without further notice to you,” the statement continues.

“Your use of PSN and our community features may be recorded and collected by us or sent to us by other users as described in 13.1. Any information collected in this way, for example, your UGM, the content of your voice and text communications, video of your gameplay, the time and location of your activities, and your name, your PSN Online ID and IP address, may be used by us or our affiliated companies to enforce these Terms and the SEN Terms of Service, to comply with the law, to protect our rights and those of our licensors and users, and to protect the personal safety of our employees and users. This information may be passed to the police or other appropriate authorities. By accepting these Software Usage Terms, you expressly consent to this.”

Watch out, folks; Big Brother is watching. Sure, other services do this as well — that needn’t be pointed out. There are even legitimate benefits to this form of monitoring, including the increased safety of end-users. But this is all feeling a little 1984.

Are you okay with being monitored?

via Polygon

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5 Comments on Sony May “Monitor and Record” PSN Voice and Text Communications

Phil Hornshaw

On November 11, 2013 at 8:30 am

This is interesting to me in contrast to what we’ve seen with Microsoft and the potential for monitoring. Here, Sony is saying basically that it reserves the right to look into content you create and share on PSN — which makes sense, really. If you use a voice chat message to threaten another player, for example, Sony is saying it has the right to look at that message and take appropriate action. Same with game footage and what have you.

So “monitoring” isn’t quite, perhaps, the right way to look at this. At least in the terms outlined above, Sony is using this capability to police its on Terms of Service. It needs this to enforce the rules. What’s more, I subscribe to the “it’s a privilege, not a right” line of thinking when it comes to things like PSN and Xbox Live. You don’t have to use the service and when you do, you should expect to have less privacy than if you weren’t using it. All that makes sense with me.

Where the contrast is with Microsoft comes back to that Kinect camera again. Here Sony is saying it’ll use access to your content for rule enforcement, which is a lot less than what Microsoft has suggested it might do with user data (namely, sell it to third parties). Sony reserves that right as well, of course, but Sony STILL doesn’t have an IR camera aimed into your living room, accompanied by a microphone, and Sony doesn’t have a history of giving Skype chats to the NSA. So in a lot of fundamental ways, while this seems like a Big Brother scenario, it still isn’t on the same level as what we’ve seen with Xbox One.


On November 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm


Maybe now some peoples will think twice before saying anything they want…


On November 11, 2013 at 3:07 pm


I had the same reaction. If I’m reading this correctly, I can see where this might be useful or even necessary since it seems like a way for Sony to try to curtail abuse. Like you said, I don’t really mind if Sony wants to have a method for detecting and eliminating threatening behavior. And it reads like someone would have to report some sort of inappropriate behavior before Sony would actually do any of this. Most of the language is used in terms of protecting legal rights as opposed to marketing purposes, and as long as that remains the case, I can live with that.


On November 12, 2013 at 11:11 am

As long as there’s no “mission creep” and Sony uses this capability for NOTHING MORE THAN IT STATES then I think most people would have no problem with it. Sony could put everyone at ease by detailing how it will limit its use of the recorded content solely for TOS and law enforcement purposes unless it receives specific permission from the user(s) in question.


On November 12, 2013 at 11:36 am

If this was an xbox announcement, everyone would be hating on microsoft right now. Sony gets away with so much crap.