Sony may monitor your PSN and community activity, share data with “affiliated companies”

Monday, 11 November 2013 14:29 GMT By Dave Cook

Sony has updated its software usage terms for PSN to state that it can monitor your PSN activity, but has no commitment to do so. It may, however, track your PSN habits, monitor or delete your messages and pass the information on to affiliate companies in the name of online security.

You’ll find the new legal document on the PlayStation UK site.

Section 14 is entitled” Are we monitoring PSN?” and reads as follows:

“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 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.”

The start of the document also adds that all software you buy is,”licensed, not sold,” and adds, “which means you acquire rights to use the Software, as described in these Terms, but you do not acquire ownership of the Software. If you do not comply with these Terms, we can terminate your Software Licence which means you will no longer have the right to use the Software.”

While the documentation suggests that data can be monitored and passed on to affiliates, it does sound like this is only when you seem to be doing something dodgy or beyond the usage policy. Still, following on from Microsoft’s DRM backlash, the wording could get some gamers upset.

The line about ownership of software is also interesting, given the debate around whether or not gamers actually own the content they buy in today’s industry.

What do you think?

Via Polygon.


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  1. Hcw87

    So, not only Microsoft is under PRISM’s control then.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Rikki

    Sony will monitor your PSN and community activity, share data with “affiliated companies”

    Fixed the headline.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. TD_Monstrous69

    Can’t say I’m too surprised by any of this. I mean, the monitoring stuff was mentioned as far back as the PS4 unveiling.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Djoenz

    Messed up. Digital future= services. I dont like that at all.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Stoopid_Snot

    meh… don’t have anything to hide…

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Zackslacky

    So….my my prediction of sony been a bit too quite has come true. Next week drm from sony. Next time I can get a ps4 in ireland is feb 22nd. I can get a xbox on the 22nd of nov. 29th of nov. 6dec…and on and on. Christmas will be xboxs all around so? Psn will have the usual 4 people.

    #6 2 years ago

    Oooh… That’s interesting.

    How will the fanboys spin this one…?

    #7 2 years ago
  8. gomersoul

    Advertisement is becoming ridiculous. It’s everywhere in everything, but if they want to waste time listening to me trash talking on killzone, go ahead. It won’t tell you if I want the new audi

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Fin

    PSN activity”

    “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.”

    Standard legal stuff here. They’re not talking about anything that passes through their service that’s illegal (+is flagged as such).


    PSN will have all the people that didn’t leave it till the last minute to preorder. Being able to get an X1 at launch says more about consumer intention than anything else.

    “Next week drm from sony”



    No mention of advertising anywhere in the story.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. DSB

    @8 Haha, so true.

    Either way, targeted advertising is a double edged sword for the same reasons focus groups don’t work.

    People act differently in public than they do in private. If a marketer asks you what you want, you’ll give him one reply, like “I hate CoD, it’s so lame”. But then you go home and play 500 hours anyway.

    #10 2 years ago


    #11 2 years ago
  12. Clupula

    Wow, what overreactions.

    Do you think any company wouldn’t do this if you’re using your system to, say, download child porn or start checking out how to build bombs?

    As the article says, it very clearly seems he’s talking about if you’re doing something shifty. As someone who lives in the States, I’m well aware of the power the Patriot Act gives to the government over social networking. This is no surprise and…well, I can’t say it’s no big deal, but it’s not Sony that are the bad guy here, but the people with a lot more power than them.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Fin

    “download child porn or start checking out how to build bombs”

    This is exactly what this is targeted at.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Ireland Michael

    Standard legal jargon here. Overreaction are not surprising though – it’s an easy way to justify personal bias.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. monkeygourmet


    Whats Poly going to do now?! ;)



    @Everyone defending this

    I hope you did the same with MS, oh wait, you didn’t…


    Yes, MS and Sony’s consoles are essentially the same thing as much as people would like to believe one is a utopian device and one is a dystopian nightmare.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Fin


    Big difference between “we have the right to monitor everything that goes through our network” and “we’ll record everything you do, but don’t worry, we won’t keep it or send it through our network or use it for advertising…unless you let us”.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. DeVitowned

    The argument of owning a revocable software license and not the property itself is ancient. I think something similar to it, if not verbatim, was included in the fine print of the warranty section of old NES games. When you buy digital, that is all you get is a licrnse to use it, but when it comes to physical discs, I say good luck to the poor bastard that tries to take the disc away and tell me I don’t own it, as I assure you they won’t have working legs for the rest of their lives.

    The information of Sony sharing information with affiliates for advertising and business strategy is to be expected, as is monitoring for illegalities. However, I doubt they’ve anything in place to be able to successfully and consistently draw up a flag for inappropriate and suspicious behavior.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. monkeygourmet


    Just makes me think of this:

    #18 2 years ago
  19. bugmenot

    PRISM is Microsoft exclusive and
    “only possible on the Xbox One”

    According to Edward Snowden aka “son of Liberty”

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Hcw87

    Uhm what? If USA thinks you’re a terrorist, it doesn’t matter what console you’re on.

    Doesn’t even matter what country you’re in.

    No matter if you’re using XB1 or PS4, if you’re doing legal stuff you got nothing to hide anyway.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. Lv01

    @9 +1

    #21 2 years ago
  22. polygem

    crap…CRAP…C R A P!

    what is this shit? i just want to play games is that too much to ask for these days? seems like it.

    seriously…quiet please, i need TO THINK!!!

    #22 2 years ago
  23. monkeygourmet



    #23 2 years ago
  24. Ireland Michael

    @15 Sony hasn’t attempted to put systems in place that unfairly deny me access to my personal property. If they did, they would receive the exact same criticism I levelled at Microsoft’s DRM.

    @17 Great summary. Always refreshing to see people with a rational head on their shoulders.

    Many countries are starting to recognise the validity of digital ownership much more seriously, to the point of it being treated with the exact same rules and processes as physical ownership, and denying someone access to said content being illegal as long as a company remains in business.

    As I said in a previous post, many of the rules are put in place to deal with piracy in the courts. 99% of them will never be enforced in courts.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. Clupula

    @22 – This is going to turn into how much you love your Wii U, isn’t it?

    #25 2 years ago
  26. polygem

    @25: good point actually

    #26 2 years ago
  27. laughing-gravy

    You do realise that the not for resale T&C’s have always been there don’t you? Going way back to PS1. They’ve never been enforced. You will check up on that won’t you Dave.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. monkeygourmet


    I lol’d! :)

    #28 2 years ago
  29. Dave Cook

    @27 Correct. However, it’s poignant given how we’re veering closer and closer to a predominantly digital market where we’re simply renting music (Spotify), TV and movies (Netflix) and games (Steam/Gaikai).

    Discs are the only real piece of ownership you have left. It’s just an interesting point of note.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. bugmenot

    Calm down everyone, so far only one of the big three, Microsoft, has been colleborating with the NSA in the “PRISM”-initiative. Considering that Sony is a Japanese company
    I’m sure Edward Snowden would’ve given us proof by now that Sony is involved. He’s already named some of the biggest American companies.

    #30 2 years ago
  31. bugmenot

    Edward Snowden aka “son of liberty”

    #31 2 years ago
  32. laughing-gravy

    @29 I am more worried about the whole monitoring thing though. Maybe a reaction to being hacked again and again?

    #32 2 years ago
  33. monkeygourmet


    And you have to do a digital update on day 1 to get your physical media (Bluray’s) working.

    Does anyone know what media formats the PS4 / Xbone will play?

    #33 2 years ago
  34. Ireland Michael

    @26 All but one of those (Valve) is a service. Services and goods are completely different things, and are very definitively defined in law. In the EU at the very least, no company can deny me access to digital content I bought, under *any* circumstance, so long as they are in business.

    It is my property, no matter what any ToS or EULA or whatever says to the contrary, and the courts support this fact.

    @30 Correct me if I’m wrong, but only US companies are required by law to conform with PRISM, correct?

    #34 2 years ago
  35. laughing-gravy

    @33 No 3d blu ray on X1 at launch though they do have CD and MP3 support. The new systems seem like more of a work in progress tbh.

    #35 2 years ago
  36. bugmenot

    Calm down everyone, so far only one of the big three, Microsoft, has been colleborating with the NSA in the “PRISM”-initiative. Considering that Sony is a Japanese company
    I’m sure Edward Snowden would’ve given us proof by now that Sony is involved. He’s already named some of the biggest American companies.

    #36 2 years ago
  37. Dave Cook

    @36 stop spamming the site you fucking nugget.

    #37 2 years ago
  38. Kaufer

    @32 Its the sign of the times. Certain people use vg consoles nowadays to do illicit behaviors. For example, if Nintendo didn’t monitor Swapnote how would they have found its being use by sexual predators?

    #38 2 years ago
  39. monkeygourmet


    From my perspective, the 2 machines are and have always been nearly identical.

    Sony have just capitilised on bad press on MS’s behalf, which is fair game, but to consider them suddenly a beacon of light in this industry is one of the biggest jokes in recent times.

    Any big company like Sony / MS have a clear goal of media control when it comes to devices like the PS4 / Xbone. All Sony have done is fool (some)people into the illusion of freedom.

    MS just bodged the reveal completly though, so it wasn’t hard for Sony to achieve their current good will. It’s been very much like politics for me.

    The 2 sides have switched round and suddenly everyones happy, problem is, both sides still are trying to achieve the same goal.

    #39 2 years ago
  40. laughing-gravy

    @38 Good point. Meanwhile we get the shaft.

    #40 2 years ago
  41. salarta

    @37: Mmm, nugget. *salivates*

    @40: Mmm, laughing gravy. *salivates*

    #41 2 years ago
  42. monkeygourmet


    Better than some poor kid getting the ‘shaft’…

    Sorry, i’ll get my coat… :)

    #42 2 years ago
  43. DSB

    @34 I don’t think you’re helping yourself to understand what’s really going on if you focus on PRISM.

    PRISM was really just meant to expediate what the NSA were already doing. Basically lessen the workload and spare them some decryption resources. And of course, things are a lot easier for a US intelligence agency inside the US, but purely in a legal sense.

    It doesn’t mean they aren’t everywhere, and I think the key thing you have to understand is that they have close cooperation with a number of other nations. I’d say probably most nations identifying themselves as part of the western community.

    According to the Snowden docs, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Canada are all fully complicit. Meaning they’re doing exactly what the NSA is doing anywhere that they can reach. Together with the US, they make up the group internally called “The Five Eyes”.

    According to the Snowden docs, The Five Eyes intelligence services go really far to accomodate the NSA. Australia has been using their extensive embassy network in Asia to trawl communications data in that region, for example.

    Which is pretty insane, considering they’re really just doing the US a favor.

    Aside from the Five Eyes, you have a number of different groups. Like the Seven Eyes, and the Nine Eyes (again, according to the Snowden docs) which comply to lesser extents. France is a former member of the Five Eyes.

    There’s no doubt that nations like Germany and France have been heavily involved in this in the past, so their “outrage” at this suddenly surprising spying is pure showmanship, securing them a small measure of political capital in the diplomatic game.

    Ultimately, the only reasonable conclusion you can make is that no matter where you are, unless you’re on Tor, someone is picking your shit up. Focusing on PRISM is a bit like looking at a building that’s on fire and only seeing the smoke.

    #43 2 years ago
  44. laughing-gravy

    @39 To be fair the T&C’s of software have always been there. Even on XOG & X360. But MSoft tried to take it a stage further with X1.

    #44 2 years ago
  45. bugmenot

    Edward Snowden aka “the son of liberty”

    #45 2 years ago
  46. Super Girevik

    We all know Sony will never do anything that wasn’t in our best interest. They actually have unconditional love for each of us and are truly worried about our lives. Unlike Microsoft who only likes us for our money.

    Ignorance allows us to believe what we want. A bias attitude will force us to believe what we ourselves do not believe. An informed and unbiased perspective allows us to see the truth.

    #46 2 years ago
  47. monkeygourmet


    Even TOR is completly traceable though?

    Even using that isn’t going to do you any favours when trying to not look ‘shifty’ in many peoples eyes! :)

    #47 2 years ago
  48. laughing-gravy

    @42 :p

    #48 2 years ago
  49. DSB

    @46 I see what you did there ;)

    @47 As I understand it, they can’t trawl Tor, like they can trawl through the rest of the internet. They actually have to put in some work to find their way through the encrypted hubs to get the specific location.

    But supposedly they CAN do that, which is creepy enough in itself, just considering the sheer power you’d need to break all of that decryption.

    There’s a reason why everyone assumes that NSA has the worlds most powerful supercomputers, and that would certainly seem to support that suspicion :P

    #49 2 years ago
  50. monkeygourmet



    And, at worst, at least knowing your getting the piss taken out of you (protip – it’s going to happen!) is a small solace! ;)

    #50 2 years ago
  51. Ireland Michael

    @43 I was simply curious about the extend of it. I claim no deeper knowledge on the subject. I dislike what PRISM is about on an ethical level, but at the same time I’m the sort of person who doesn’t really care because I don’t have anything to hide.

    #51 2 years ago
  52. zoopdeloop

    i don’t think that’s how it went.Sony just wanted to hear what developers and consumers needed.The latter showed their disgust toward MS’s DRM and all eyes turned on Sony.They didn’t have much choice.It was only natural they go the opposite way.
    Sony isn’t a beacon of light they will also have their own rules after all which won’t be in favour of the consumers,but at least they seem to be off that high horse they were riding for quite some time now…while MS keeps riding it

    #52 2 years ago
  53. laughing-gravy

    Orwell would be proud, welcome to Airstrip One.

    #53 2 years ago
  54. DSB

    @51 Yeah, I’m the same, I’m not really worried, but it’s fascinating enough that I just “have” to know what’s going on.

    PRISM is a really small part of what people call the ECHELON program, and it’s been going on for ages. So if people are concerned about their privileges, then PRISM is really just a very small part of the bigger scheme.

    #54 2 years ago
  55. bradk825

    I’ve always understood intellectual property to be “licensed, not sold.” It only makes sense and buying a copy of a novel does not make you the owner of the content. The published is paying the author every time a copy is sold. That author owns the content, you only own the delivery method.

    #55 2 years ago
  56. FaTTCat

    So cool.

    #56 2 years ago
  57. DSB

    @55 That’s not really the problem. The problem is that it entitles the “owner” (not you) to take away the book at his or her convenience.

    Of course this freaks out people who are naturally paranoid because they’re not really thinking further than Chicken Little.

    The sky could fall, so it’s definitely gonna, right?

    But no, anyone selling you anything, whether they call it a license or property, has an innate interest in not only selling you stuff, but letting you keep it and making sure you enjoy it, so you’ll keep buying their stuff.

    That’s what we call “the market”. Corporations try to serve their own interests at any possible turn, and they are both stupid and paranoid themselves, but ultimately there wouldn’t be any corporations if you weren’t buying their stuff.

    They can have all the money in the world, but any self-respecting rabble knows how to build a solid guillotine if they have to. Checks and balances.

    #57 2 years ago
  58. laughing-gravy

    Been looking at all my old game boxes yep the resale T&C’s are there too.

    #58 2 years ago
  59. bradk825

    @57 Well yes, that’s true I suppose, but like you say, they have interest in getting more of my money in the future and are not likely to take away my games. So you’re right, it’s the “everything than can go wrong will go wrong” attitude that scares people into thinking that intellectual property law is going to cost them something that it rightly shouldn’t.

    I guess I am just not all that nervous that anyone would decide to “terminate my license” to a game or other form of media without a valid reason, such as piracy, and I have no plans to provide a valid reason.

    #59 2 years ago
  60. Legendaryboss

    Evil man got me thinking about nuggets ;) Topic: Nope.

    #60 2 years ago
  61. Ireland Michael

    @55 Exactly this.

    You’re even entitled to change it entirely as you see fit, as long as you don’t make copies or sell it for profit.

    #61 2 years ago
  62. monkeygourmet


    Or watch / play it on an oil rig…

    Yeah fuck those guys and gals on Oil Rigs… Make ‘em all read books…

    #62 2 years ago
  63. Ireland Michael

    @62 …what

    If that was a joke, it went completely over my head.

    #63 2 years ago
  64. Legendaryboss

    Um okay? Have you been hitting the bottle?

    #64 2 years ago
  65. monkeygourmet

    @64 / 63

    Just making light of copyright infringement details. Put a DVD / Bluray on, you will get the:

    ‘Not for use on Oil Rigs / Schools / Public Showings etc..’ Bullshit.

    #65 2 years ago
  66. Ireland Michael

    Ah right. Heh.

    #66 2 years ago
  67. Djoenz

    Good one although Im not sure a lot of ppl have consoles there? They work really hard and hard shifts I mean really hard. Sparetime offtime is usually for sleepy time.

    #67 2 years ago
  68. bradk825

    LOL, you have to wonder why they specified oil rigs, lol. Is there a big problem with “Everyone come on down to the gulf for a showing of a bootlegged copy of World War Z courtesy of BP.”

    #68 2 years ago
  69. monkeygourmet


    There must be some down time though? Must be a really tough job and the thought of a suit coming in on a helicopter and saying:

    “Excuse me Mr. Oilrig Guy, I know you’ve worked a 30 hour shift in the freezing cold Antarctic winds trying to find a new drill spot and now just want to unwind with a cup of hot chocolate and watch ‘Star Wars’ on DVD… Well… You cant!”

    “Under sub section xxx of the copyright infringement laws, it states that watching this on you oil rig counts as a public showing and I’m going to confiscate it and fine you $50,000…”

    Has always amused me. :)

    #69 2 years ago
  70. RageOfThorn

    Online your life is never private PERIOD.

    I think its not too bad of a idea that Sony protect its business from litigation, and help law enforcement target predators and such, with a agreement on monitoring. I AM NOT saying that I agree that a company or government entity should be able to tell you when you went to the restroom last, or watch you scratch that itch to had to scratch, but let’s face it there’s alot of wierdos out there. It just makes things safer in a way, but the downside is privacy is a thing of the past. If you put anything online its there forever, so those steamy video chats you might have with your significant other, or hot online romance, might just be getting a gander by another goose so to say, and that sucks. My advice keep things formal online, if you can’t do it or talk about it in person, you probably shouldn’t do it.

    Truth is if you have nothing to hide legally, then there really should be no problem, but I agree it does suck that the actions of a few idiots effects the rights to any form of privacy for so many. I also agree there are folks watching for the name of being intrusive, and in the name of abusive power-freaky control.

    The licensing bit, well thats tricky. In my eyes once you buy a copy of something IT IS YOURS, not the brand but the gameplay rights to play it anytime. I dont agree with the company or anyone being able to suspend your privileges of using the software after you purchased it. What happens 10 years down the road if they decide that they no longer want to support the said console title, and put a update outright suspending privileges to certain titles? This could be used as a excuse to brick systems or software through updates beyond a certain time frame, thus forcing you to buy a version of the next generation of hardware to come, or simply going without altogether.

    Its just food for thought. On this note about both things I DONT TRUST, OR LIKE IT. Sign of the times…..

    #70 2 years ago

    “A little fear will control the minds of the common people. There’s no reason to waste money on them.”


    #71 2 years ago
  72. RageOfThorn

    If the systems get anymore intrusive on freedoms, I won’t get either of them.

    Xbox lost me with their Draconian ways when they anounced X1. I just couldn’t trust the brand after that.

    #72 2 years ago
  73. lezo

    Not a big deal , this site has two trackers always gathering data ….
    Google analytics
    twitter badge

    #73 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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