Sony denies media claims that ISIS is communicating on PS4s

Reports in the aftermath of the recent Paris terror attack have alleged that ISIS is using PS4s to freely communicate.

The accusation, which was made by Belgium’s Interior Minister Jan Jambon, centres on the claim that PS4’s player-to-player communications use an encryption method that I harder to crack than other systems.

The most difficult communication between these terrorists is via PlayStation 4,” Jambon said three days before the terrorist attacks, as reported by Politico. 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.

People think the mosques are the places of recruitment but I think that today, most of the recruitment is done by the Internet. I often see the parents of these guys and they say that at a certain moment in time these children – or these youngsters – didn’t join us to go to the mosques. The mosques were too moderate and they find their ‘truth’ on the internet.”

In the days that have followed several media outlets have pursued the angle.

These include the Mirror (‘Paris attacks: ISIS terrorists may have used PlayStation 4s to plot atrocities’), the Express (‘Did ISIS terrorists use a PLAYSTATION 4 to plot Paris massacre in the streets?’) and Metro (‘ISIS using ‘Playstation 4 network to recruit because it’s more secure than whatsapp’).

Sony, however, has insisted that it is obliged to report any terrorist related activities to authorities.

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,” it told Eurogamer.

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.”

Prior to PS4’s release Sony was happy to tout PS4’s security credentials as Microsoft reeled from accusations that Xbox and Kinect had been identified as a possible snooping tool by British intelligence agency GCHQ.

However, while companies like Apple have on the one hand tried to sell themselves against a promise of data security, governments have actually criticised data encryption and even threatened to legally block companies from protecting their users’ data. In fact, some media reports are already suggesting that the current Conservative government will use the Paris attacks as a vehicle through which it can press on with potentially unpopular reforms.

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