Sony Computer Entertainment has found it necessary to respond to claims that terrorists are using the PlayStation 4 to communicate and plan attacks. The comments came from Belgium’s deputy prime minister and minister of Security and Home Affairs, Jan Jambon, who was talking about the difficulty in countering the online recruitment efforts of the the Islamic State.
Jambon had reportedly said, “The thing that keeps me awake at night is the guy behind his computer, looking for messages from IS and other hate preachers. PlayStation 4 is even more difficult to keep track of than WhatsApp.”
Apparently, the encryption on PlayStation 4 chat is proving to be extremely difficult for security forces to crack; which is why Jambon believes that it is being used by terrorists. However, there does not appear to be a link between the PS4 comments and the recent terrorists attacks in Paris and Beirut; mainly because it was made before either event took place.
Despite this, Sony still issued a statement to Eurogamer saying that:
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.
This isn’t the first time that video games have been at the centre of law enforcement efforts. It was revealed two years ago that intelligence agencies in the US and UK had gone undercover in World of Warcraft to monitor any possible terrorist activities that might be taking place there.
While it is known that the Islamic State has been using encrypted communications like instant messaging apps, it is less likely that they would invest in game consoles to plan attacks. It sounds more like an intelligence agent trying to convince his bosses to let him sit on the PS4 all day “to catch terrorists”.