Japanese officials blocking PSN relaunch

Regulators in Sony's home nation demanding greater transparency on new security measures, consumer confidence.


PlayStation 3 and PSP owners had cause to celebrate over the weekend, when Sony announced that it had begun enabling some functionality of the PlayStation Network and Qriocity, as well as relaunching Sony Online Entertainment games. However, despite Sony's claims to have rebuilt the services with a greater emphasis on security, Japanese officials are demanding greater transparency before authorizing their relaunch.

Sony still faces hurdles before relaunching the PSN in Japan.
Sony still faces hurdles before relaunching the PSN in Japan.

The Dow Jones Newswire reports that Japan's Media and Content Industry department at the Ministry of Economy is holding up the relaunch of the services until Sony offers greater transparency on the steps it took to ramp up security and assuage consumer fears.

"We met with Sony on May 6 and 13, and basically we want two things from them," Media and Content Industry director Kazushige Nobutani told Dow Jones. "The first is preventative measures. As of May 13, Sony was incomplete in exercising measures that they said they will do on the May 1 press conference."

Nobutani declined to provide additional details on this point due to security concerns. However, as part of the aforementioned press event, Sony said that it would be implementing additional firewalls, adding "enhanced levels of data protection and encryption," and implementing extra measures to detect software attacks on the network. The company is also creating an all-new position of chief information security officer.

The second issue pertained to the efforts Sony had undertaken to regain consumer confidence after the security breach, in which the identifying information of some 77 million PSN and Qriocity accounts, as well as nearly 25 million SOE accounts, was compromised. This information ranged from names, addresses, and login info to credit card and bank account data.

"There were similar cases in the past that were caused by other firms, and we are asking Sony whether their measures are good enough when compared to countermeasures taken in the past," Nobutani said.

Various leading credit card companies maintain that no suspicious activity has arisen from the security breach. However, Sony's assurance measures have thus far included a free identity-theft protection program with $1 million worth of insurance for each customer.

Japan's government isn't the only one to take a critical eye to Sony's response efforts in the wake of its security breach, which occurred nearly a month ago. The US and UK governments have launched investigations of their own, ones that have yielded a play-by-play accounting of when Sony first learned of the issue and the measures it has taken to resolve it.

Sony had not responded to GameSpot's request for comment on the matter as of press time.

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