The PlayStation1984

Microsoft have, pretty much since E3, been getting a lot of stick about their push to get a Kinect sensor installed in every home with an Xbox One. Personally, I would argue the fact that the 360’s version of Kinect was a bit rubbish is the major cause for concern. However, those prone to wearing tin foil hats are a tad concerned that the new Kinect will allow the all-seeing eye of Big Brother into their living room where it will render prompt and swift judgment on the fact that they play games whilst wearing nothing but a pair of Y-fronts.

In all fairness, you’re right to be concerned about the privacy of your data – and should do everything reasonable to keep your digital life secure. To Microsoft’s credit, they have gone on record to state that the data collected by Kinect will, unless you have given explicit permission, never leave the confines of your Xbox One.

In the lead up to the next generation of consoles, Sony have had a jolly old time poking fun at Microsoft over just about every aspect of the Xbox One. But they’ve said very little about how private your digital life on PlayStation is. Akin to the manner that Sony revealed that online multiplayer will be limited to those with a PS Plus account (in the footnotes of a presentation), Sony have come out with the following statement (in the footnotes of their Software Terms of Service):

Are we monitoring PSN?
Yes but we can’t monitor all PSN activity and we make 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 user-generated material (UGM) at our sole discretion, without further notice to you. 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.

Yep, you read that right. They reserve the right to monitor or record any or all of your activity on PSN. Scary stuff indeed – collecting anonymised usage statistics is one thing, but giving themselves the right to snoop into your private communications on PSN is frankly shocking.

The next generation of consoles will undoubtedly be shaped by the services that both platforms provide – and, as a result, the amount of data that you’ll generate as you navigate and use these services will be more voluminous than ever. But just because you use a service to help conduct your online life does not – and never should – give the company that runs it the right to demand that you give up every last shred of your privacy.

I encourage each and every one of you to make some noise about this – as this is a major infringement of your rights and, if left unchallenged, silent assent will quickly become confused with consent.

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  1. Ridcullys Hat

    This is a very interesting article and it is quite shocking the idea that a company will do what they like with all the information they gather from your actions online. Although alot of the privacy stuff is linked to grief reporting (the end of trolling on psn?) but that seems to be a small part of this data collection and it could mean, as they don’t state otherwise, that they can also sell any information about the consumers and as you have signed up to the service, you have consented to this. I can understand projecting minors, vulnerable people and gamers who just want to enjoy their time online BUT does that also mean that we ALL should just give up our right to privacy so that a big company can profit from us using a service and then profit from the selling of our actions while using the service? Oh, and yes I read the policies 13-14 as I had an argument with a Sony fanboy friend of mine who seems to have a very blinkered view on this.

  2. Sadly, no. Also, this was published on a Monday. 🙂

  3. Ridcullys Hat

    There is also another interesting piece on the terms of service about the resale of software. Basically as a consumer, you cannot resell without express permission and earlier in the terms it states that, even though you have bought the software, it is not yours as they can stop you using it whenever they see fit. Basically you pay your money and it is leased to you. Its quite interesting reading.

  4. Ridcullys Hat

    That’s why Sony have been a bit more surreptitious about how they have gone about it. Basically ridiculed Microsoft but in their small print state they are doing the exact thing that turned consumers away from the one, even though Microsoft have backtracked on their policy. They probably believe that the war is already won and they can do what they like. It does seem very hypocritical of them to take the Mickey while doing the exact same thing. I got quite anal when I read Dans article and have read the terms a couple of times now and these policies seem very arrogant, yet perfectly legal. That is the biggest worry to me. I was always going to get an xbone anyway but that’s purely because I can only get a single format and its the exclusives that I want (halo et al) but I am now a little worried about Microsofts terms of service and now want to see how they stack up against Sonys.

  5. Ridcullys Hat

    I am a very sad, lonely man. I even read work policies. Mainly to annoy my bosses when I quote them. 😛 . I don’t know if its anything or alot to worry about but it seems that alot of companies are going this way. Just look at the trials that have used tweets or Facebook as evidence. Its as if Sony are just making sure they’re covered if a law agency demand something from them so that Sony, as a company are safe legally.
    Big brother is watching you.

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