Some PlayStation 4 users who downloaded the latest 8.0 update got an unwelcome surprise this morning: their console informed them that Sony had the right to record their voice for moderation purposes.
Here’s a couple examples:
So apparently, in case y’all didn’t know this beforehand. But apparently the newest Sony update to the PS4 and will continue onto 5 will be recording your voice while in party chat. pic.twitter.com/T0VIbwIpZe
— TSN | Ittarra BooOda : Still recovering (@IttarraOda) October 14, 2020
Initially, the update’s release notes contained no mention of voice recordings. But at some point today, Sony clarified what the messages meant in an update to its official blog post.
Here is Sony’s exact language:
Following this update, users are seeing a notification about Party Safety and that voice chats in parties may be recorded. Voice chat recording for moderation is a feature that will be available on PS5 when it launches, and will enable users to record their voice chats on PS5 and submit them for moderation review. The pop up you’re seeing on PS4 right now is to let you know that when you participate in a chat with a PS5 user (post-launch), they may submit those recordings from their PS5 console to SIE.
To translate that statement, it seems that by joining a voice chat, even with the older PlayStation 4, your voice can be recorded and submitted to Sony for moderation by another user. This could certainly be invasive — in theory, anything you say in a voice chat could be sent to Sony without your explicit consent. But the feature could also be a useful tool to help people report bad party members that may be harassing them.
Based on Sony’s language, it doesn’t seem as if Sony is actively listening to all of your conversations you’re having with your pals during your latest rounds of Fall Guys.
The 8.0 software also changes the way parties and messages work and adds new avatars, parental communication controls, and support for authenticator apps for two-factor authentication.
And in another move to prepare for the PS5’s launch, Sony has rebranded the PS4 Remote Play mobile, Mac, and PC apps to PS Remote Play, and you’ll be able to use the app to connect to a PlayStation 5 when the new console launches next month.