Hmm. Sony updated their Playstation Network User Agreement and conveniently highlighted the new stuff in red. Most of the new stuff seems fairly innocuous, but this section caught my eye:
Unless otherwise required by applicable law, there is no requirement or expectation that SCEA will monitor or record any online activity on PSN, including communications. However, SCEA reserves the right to monitor and record any online activity and communication throughout PSN and you give SCEA your express consent to monitor and record your activities. SCEA reserves the right to remove any content and communication from PSN at SCEA's sole discretion without further notice to you. Any data collected in this way, including the content of your communications, the time and location of your activities, your Online ID and IP address and other related information may be used by us to enforce this Agreement or protect the interests of SCEA, its users, or licensors. Such information may be disclosed to the appropriate authorities or agencies. Any other use is subject to the terms of the applicable Privacy Policy.
I suspect that many online services have (or should have) such a block of text, but still it's a bit disconcerting to have Sony call it out like this. They sent me an email directing me to this page where they explicitly say "Oh hey, we just decided that we can spy on you and you agree that's cool." Which makes you wonder why this just happened. One theory is that a lawyer just happened by and shat all over us. The other theory would be that Home and/or Little Big Planet have some sort of spying function built in. I have one possible comparative piece of data. I can't speak to the 360 but back when Microsoft launched voice chat for the first Xbox there was a minor kerfluffle. You see, the Xbox Live libraries explicitly encrypted all data sent over the network. Then suddenly they changed the protocol so that voice traffic was sent separately and unencrypted. The word was they did that at the behest of the US government. They never SAID the voice chat was being logged somewhere, but I think that implied it. Or at least that XBL could be "wire-tapped". Say, if the NSA had an illegal tap of all network traffic secretly installed at a trunk in AT&T's office. Hypothetically speaking of course, because the NSA breaking the law? Crazy talk!
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