PS4 Party Chat: Sony Refutes Privacy Abuse Claims

PS4's firmware update 8.00 sparked a controversial online conversation about data privacy within PS4 party chats. Sony has now refuted the claim.

The pop-up message goes like, "Please be aware that voice chats in parties may be recorded and sent to us by other users. By participating in voice chat, you agree to your voice being recorded." 

Sony also took to PlayStation Official Blog to clarify the issue. The pop-up informs that other party members may record the conversation and report them to the SIE. This step is meant to prevent online harassment and verbal abuse, which the gaming industry has seen for decades. 

The following paragraph is Sony's exact words. 

"Following this update, users see 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."

"Hello! The notification advises you that other users may be recording your voice conversation. We do no record party chats. ^PS," Ask PlayStation UK answered a fan on Twitter

However, you can still disable the recording. To do so, head over to the party's setting and tick on 'Never Allow' on the 'Allowing Your Voice to be Shared' tab.

Read the full statement here.

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PS4 Software Update 8.00: New Features & Everything

Besides the Party Safety notification, the new 8.00 software update also revamps the UI of Party and Messages. A brand new collection of avatars and the ability to mute all mics from the Menu are also introduced. 

If you're a parent, Parental Controls are more simplified and flexible within this update. A child would have to ask their parents for permission to communicate with other players online. 

There are also updates to the Remote Play App on Mobile and PC, as well as the Enhanced 2-Step Verification. According to the Blog, it will now support third-party authenticator apps to help. 

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Fans' Reaction

It's good that Sony took some time to clarify the issue, but a considerable segment of fans doesn't seem entirely happy about the decision. 

"I've been called all sorts of awful stuff before, doesn't mean I advocate for Sony to listen to our chats," one fan wrote

"Sony would just use that data to sell me ads. An individual would use recordings for nefarious purposes," others expressed their disagreement

Do you agree with Sony's decision?

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