Privacy Update

  • 17 August 2017
  • 34 replies
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I’ve received an email from Sonos regarding an update to their privacy policy ahead of new software and system updates next week. Alexa integration? I think so...

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34 replies

Userlevel 6
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For you has there been something concerning added?

I am not that concerned about the changes in the Sonos privacy policy. In fact, I have already accepted the policy and installed the update. What I am concerned about is the attitude expressed in the ZDNet statement from the Sonos employee.

I want and expect Sonos to succeed. However, this is a PR blunder and should be corrected.
Userlevel 5
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[quote=Insertusernamehere]
So Skelton, I will gladly read any comments you may wish to provide about why my concerns are totally irrational and that I should just shut up about it and continue my life.

You're setting an impossible task before me. There's nothing rational about your fears, so I won't be able to convince you of anything.

For you has there been something concerning added?

I am not that concerned about the changes in the Sonos privacy policy. In fact, I have already accepted the policy and installed the update. What I am concerned about is the attitude expressed in the ZDNet statement from the Sonos employee.

I want and expect Sonos to succeed. However, this is a PR blunder and should be corrected.

I would agree that they should've better anticipated just how ignorant the general populace is. They won't bother to actually read the changes, but rather react to poorly written news stories. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect people to accept your privacy policy. I shudder to think what these people would do if they understood how many other products are requiring the exact same thing of them.

The difference with Sonos is that they were open and honest about the change. If they'd done it on the sly like most then there wouldn't have been such an uproar.

That's just my opinion.
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My previous post may come off as egregiously flippant, so I will explain some of the reasons I said it.

Being concerned about a large corporation collecting data from a speaker, that is on all day every day in my living room, kids rooms and bedroom is hysterics? GTFO it is called being a responsible adult.
Sonos probably isn't a "large" company by most standards. I can't say for sure because they are private, but that's what I can tell from what's been made available.

Your fear is likely driven by a misunderstanding in what's actually possible. Sonos doesn't have anywhere near the resources to just be "open recording" all of the rooms in your house. Audio data isn't trivial in size, and the cost to ingest/retain all of it would be outside Sonos' reach.

It's worth mentioning that speakers aren't microphones too.

The data they collect is/will be hugely valuable,

It's nice to think that our "personal data" is of significant value. The truth is that it isn't. You're thinking that there's some inherent value to what the name of your Sonos group is in a room, but I'm telling you the historical evidence suggests that isn't accurate. Even much, much more useful information such as your aggregated search history is worth relatively little.

Side note for all, if you want to see what the masters of data collection do check out your results on: https://myactivity.google.com/myactivity

Why should I let them know what my very young kids listen to for years and years?

I think you misread the policy. They are not recording what songs you're listening to.

Why should they know when I listen to my music form my NAS? How is this necessary if I am not asking for support?

As with a fair number of the functional items this isn't about support but about customer use. By collecting how you listen to your data Sonos can tell how they should be spending their resources. If no one is using their NAS to stream then they shouldn't be spending development dollars on it. It's incredibly valuable for them, and I can't imagine how it actually causes the end user harm for them to know. Car companies are doing a lot of this type of collection, but again, many people don't know about it.

Responses here haven't be all that helpful, what I've reard (paraphrasing) is that other companies do this all the time, who cares if they know I listen to X artist in the bathroom or you don't understand the technicalities of the product

I'm not going to try and convince you that you shouldn't feel the way you do. I'm posting in these threads to make sure other people have an accurate understanding. It is accurate to say that this is standard procedure. It's also accurate to say that you're misunderstanding some of the technicalities, but I do appreciate that you have feelings about data collection.

I'd rather Sonos offered an opt out too, but I'm appreciative that they've been upfront and clear about their intentions. If they change their practice in the future to collect inappropriate details then I'll join the protest against it. At this time though, I don't find harm.
This skelton guy is pretty up on things. 😃
Userlevel 7
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"Sonos doesn't have anywhere near the resources to just be "open recording" all of the rooms in your house. Audio data isn't trivial in size, and the cost to ingest/retain all of it would be outside Sonos' reach.

It's worth mentioning that speakers aren't microphones too."

They are going to record everything for 20 seconds locally, then over write if no "wake up" word recognised.
The PLAY5 has microphones too.
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They are going to record everything for 20 seconds locally, then over write if no "wake up" word recognised.
The PLAY5 has microphones too.

Thanks for the information. I meant to refer to the idea that Sonos could constantly be recording everything from your home and transferring that up to their servers.

On a personal level, I don't really count cached data as recorded, any more than I consider things in RAM to be saved.
It has been stated repeatedly that the current Play:5 microphones are not a far-field array and thus will not be used for any voice control process. Future Sonod devices may have far-field array mics, but the current units do not have the capability.
As with a fair number of the functional items this isn't about support but about customer use. By collecting how you listen to your data Sonos can tell how they should be spending their resources. If no one is using their NAS to stream then they shouldn't be spending development dollars on it. It's incredibly valuable for them, and I can't imagine how it actually causes the end user harm for them to know. Car companies are doing a lot of this type of collection, but again, many people don't know about it.


And I think the reverse holds true. As a consumer, it's helpful to let Sonos know just how you use your NAS, and that they would lose favor if they started de-supporting it (I don't mean remove the function, but no new features and dedicated resources to support). If they didn't collect this data, then they have 4 options.

1 - Take an educated guess.
2 - Do some sort of customer survey, which is going to cost money.
3 - Pay some market research firm to provide them the data.
4 - Assume that this forum represents the general consumer and follow the advice of whoever complains the most.

None of these 3 options are going to be as reliable as just collecting the data from you. And of course, it's cheaper. Of course, as consumers, we aren't that concerned about Sonos costs. However, they cannot pass on costs to the consumer if they do not have those costs to begin with.

Note: To be clear, I get that Sonos needs data on what non-Sonos customers want as well, since they want to grow, not just maintain the existing customers. And therefore, using only existing customer data doesn't always give you the best picture. But it does help.