Following the release of PS4 Firmware 8.0 last week, users noticed that voice chat could be recorded and sent to Sony, which raised privacy concerns. Sony has now clarified how this feature is intended to work, and recordings will only be sent to Sony if the player is reporting inappropriate behaviour.
Catherine Jensen, Vice President of Global Consumer Experience at Sony has taken to the PlayStation Blog to post a statement regarding the new functionality.
The statement is as follows:
Hi everyone. I’m Catherine Jensen, and I head up the Global Consumer Experience division here at PlayStation. Our department works every day to create the best possible gaming experience for our community on PlayStation Network. We also manage the @AskPlayStation customer support channel and create troubleshooting guides to help gamers find solutions. Our goal is to help foster a fun and positive experience when you’re playing online with friends and other gamers.
Managing online safety is an important part of ensuring that. We believe that it’s critical that gamers be able to quickly and accurately report abuse or harassment if they experience it while on PlayStation Network. As part of this initiative, we’ve been preparing to roll out a new feature on the PS5 console that enables gamers to report verbal harassment through a new Voice Chat reporting function. Its sole purpose is to help in reporting of inappropriate behavior, including actions that violate our Community Code of Conduct. Please note that this feature will not actively monitor or listen in on your conversations – ever – and it’s strictly reserved for reporting online abuse or harassment.
PlayStation gamers learned about this new function in an unexpected way following the recent PS4 8.00 system update. We didn’t clearly communicate this feature or explain why we were introducing it, and we apologize for that. When the PS5 console launches in November, PS5 users will be able to chat with PS4 users — which is why we needed to include an advisory with the latest PS4 system update.
We should have more clearly explained why this function was being rolled out, along with details on how it will work on the PS5 console, so let me walk you through that now.
Once the PS5 console launches, if a PS5 player needs to file a harassment report, they will be able to include up to a 40 second-long Voice Chat clip in their report — 20 seconds of the main conversation with the other player, plus an additional 10 seconds before and after the conversation selection. Only the most recent five minutes of a Voice Chat will be available for a player to use for this reporting function.
These reports can be submitted directly through the PS5 console, and will be sent to our Consumer Experience team for moderation, who will then listen to the recording and take action, if needed. Some submitted reports won’t be valid, and our team will take this as an opportunity to provide guidance and education. There won’t be an option to opt-out of this Voice Chat recording function because we want all users to feel safe when playing with others online, not just those who choose to enable it.
Thanks for reading, and I’m hoping this gives you a better idea about our goals for this new function. We appreciate your support, and want you to know that our team will always work to create a positive experience on PlayStation so you can focus on playing great games and having fun with your friends.
Source: PlayStation Blog