The latest update to the next-gen console’s software usage terms includes the disclosure that the company may monitor and record the content of voice and text communication over the PlayStation Network.
Sony’s downplaying the clause, saying it can’t monitor all PSN activity – and it isn’t making a commitment to do so. That said, it adds:
"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 at our sole discretion, without further notice to you." The information, says the company, could be passed on to law enforcement or other authorities.
So what exactly is the company gathering? More than you might think.
“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,” read the terms.
Privacy has been a growing concern among some gamers as we move into the next generation. Microsoft has had to defend its next generation Kinect sensor, which has the capacity to pick up audio and visual data – even in its dormant mode.
Critics have raised fears that “one of the world's most sophisticated imaging devices [will be] eavesdropping on every conversation and tracking every person who enters the room with pinpoint accuracy.”
Microsoft attempted to assuage those fears with a statement, reminding players that the system could be turned off at any time.
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