Most folks who communicate through the PlayStation 4 do so to set up game sessions with friends or, you know, trash talk someone they recently squared off against online. According to some recent statements from folks like Belgium Deputy Prime Minister Jan Jambon, though, terrorists may be using the devices to communicate more securely.

Jambon, who is also Belgium’s Minister of Security and Home Affairs, spoke to Politico last week concerning the potential use of the PlayStation 4 by terrorist organizations such as ISIS. According to Jambon, the PlayStation 4’s structure makes it difficult to monitor, meaning that it could be particularly attractive to terrorist groups who wish to communicate without being observed.

While Jambon made his statements only days before the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, there is no evidence to tie those acts, or any others, to communication through the PlayStation 4. As far as we can tell, Jambon’s argument basically boils down to “since we can’t monitor it easily, that’s an attractive platform for terrorists to communicate.” Those are my words, of course, not his. For Jambon’s statement, we turn directly to his time on Politico.
PlayStation 4 is even more difficult to keep track of than WhatsApp. The most difficult communication between these terrorists is via PlayStation 4. It’s very, very difficult for our services—not only Belgian services but international services—to decrypt the communication that is done via PlayStation 4.

That’s something most gamers probably don’t even consider when playing Call of Duty online or working through marathon sessions of Fallout 4 or Destiny. While many view games consoles as exactly that—a place to play games—they also serve as sophisticated multimedia devices with communication functionality. Sony has to keep its services secure, so it makes sense that folks who want to discuss unsavory things might do so through the device rather than via more easily monitored means such as chat rooms, email or text.

Sony has since provided its own statement regarding these claims to Eurogamer, which can be seen below.
PlayStation 4 allows for communication amongst friends and fellow gamers and, in common with all modern connected devices, this has the potential to be abused. However, we take our responsibilities to protect our users extremely seriously and we urge our users and partners to report activities that may be offensive, suspicious or illegal. When we identify or are notified of such conduct, we are committed to taking appropriate actions in conjunction with the appropriate authorities and will continue to do so.

In other words, Sony isn’t about to open its doors to stricter monitoring, but it takes these issues as seriously as anyone. So as the old saying goes, if you see something, say something. Reporting questionable behavior or discussions is a simple process and can be carried out directly from the console.
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