Sony Says All Your Actions Are Belong to Us!

Greetings Readers!

Being a member of the Playstation Network and various Playstation related programs (Gamers Advisory Panel), I recieved an email on Friday informing me of changes to the Terms of Service and User Agreement for the Playstation Network.  Since it was a slow day at work, I decided to read the changes to the service, most of which are beyond disgusting.

While these agreements are made primarily for the company to cover its butt in the biggest way possible so that it can avoid dumb lawsuits from Jack Thompson impersonators, the new changes went much farther than that.  There are a few new rules in there that are to be expected, basically trying to keep people from exchanging personal information and trying to protect children which is all well and good, but they did not stop there.

Lets get right into the bad stuff with the fact that basically you no longer have any privacy on the PlayStation Network.

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.

Unless you want to risk termination of your service and have very little functionality out of your PS3, you will now have to be very careful about what you do as Sony is watching and listening for TOS violations so they can disable your account.  But, if you thought that this is all they are using your information for, you would be wrong.  It is being shared with third parties.

Third parties, including publishers may administer access to some content, including delivery, gameplay or customer service. To enable third parties to provide such access to you, we must provide them with your personal information. If you do not consent to allow us to share your personal information with third parties for the purpose of providing you with access to PSN content, you will not be able to participate in PSN.

So now, all of your private information is now at the hands of third parties and whatever they choose to do with it.  You have no say in what personal information they get, and if you don’t like it, you aren’t allowed to use the PlayStation Network.  I suspect this is the first step in finding ads on the PlayStation Network outside of promoting new items in the store.

Of course the fun doesn’t stop there.  Stories have been floating around for some time about the horrible DRM and stuff related to downloading store content and that you basically get one shot with content and thats it, but now, if something happens, even if its Sony’s fault, you are out of luck.

You bear all risk of loss for completing the download of any content and for any loss of content you have downloaded, including any loss due to a file corruption or hard drive crash.You are solely responsible for the storage and safekeeping of your content. SCEA is not responsible for providing you with replacement copies for any reason.

If that doesn’t sound bad enough, they state earlier in the terms that they can update your system at any time and can remove functionality or cause data loss, leaving you with nothing to do but twittle your thumbs.

Some content may be provided automatically without notice when you sign into PSN. Such content may include automatic updates or upgrades which may change your current operating system, cause a loss of data or content or cause a loss of functionalities or utilities.

So if Sony fails to properly test an update and it hoses your console, you can kiss all your downloaded content goodbye.  If you want it back, you will have to buy it all over again.

Speaking of DRM, hacking your PS3 or PSP to give yourself more control over your content is no longer allowed.

You may not bypass, disable, or circumvent any encryption, security, digital rights management or authentication mechanism in connection with PSN or any of the content offered through PSN.

Nope, we still aren’t done yet, there is even more bad news.  Sony has also decided to pull what Google did with Chrome and own everything you create.

To the extent permitted by law, You authorize and license SCEA a royalty free and perpetual right to use, distribute, copy, modify, display, and publish your User Material for any reason without any restrictions or payments to you or any third parties. You further agree that SCEA may sublicense its rights to any third party, including its affiliates and subsidiaries.

These are the biggest problems with the updated Terms of Service for the PlayStation Network, but certainly not all of them.  If you are a PSP or PS3 owner, or just really care about privacy and consumer rights, I highly recommend reading the rest of the Terms of Serivce here.  The updates are all in red.

The changes are disgusting on many levels and should be fought.  The more attention this issue gets, the better the chance we have of changing it, so make sure to forward this to everybody you know!  Until then, all your actions are belong to Sony!  Don’t forget to post your thought in the comments as well.