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Sonos strongarm tactics?

  • 3 September 2017
  • 19 replies
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Tried to run Sonos (6.4) from my iMac today. It refuses to run and gives me the message "We need Sonos running on the latest software. Choose check for updates to get started." If I follow the advice I am forced to accept the new privacy rules which I will not do. Any advice on how to make Sonos run on my iMac without accepting the new privacy conditions would be much appreciated. It was my understanding that for people like me Sonos would slowly but surely be phased out. I had never expected it to block access completely.
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Best answer by Insertusernamehere 4 September 2017, 02:55


Then turn off the collection of additional usage data in your sonos controller, instructions clearly included in the new privacy policy. This has been an option since at least 2007.


^Do this, then block msmetrics.ws.sonos.com. Piehole is a good tool for this. Will also allow you to easily see what new addresses Sonos inevitably adds. Your router may also have a blacklist function. This will stop the collection of the data that appears in your Sonos profile and presumably the other functional data that Sonos does not allow you to opt out of (that they've been collecting on you forever and will keep as long as they want). Works well for me but YMMV.
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On what software version is your system right now? I'd guess, it's on 7.3, so the controller you need is 7.3. Version 6.4 is way told old and mismatch is too big.
You may be right. My other iMac broke down and I had to switch to one that I haven't used since Nov 2016, but hat is not a long time. So how do I update to 7.3 which is indeed what is running on my Sonos equipment?
It pays to ignore silly internet articles and actually read that which you are so vehemently protesting. To whit; accept the new privacy policy and then never activate voice control and you will be under the exact same privacy policy you have been running under for years. The new policy only affects sharing currently collected data with voice control partners. If you never activate voice control, it is never shared. Other than that fact, there is absolutely no reason not to accept the new privacy policy, for it is the exact same data collection you agreed to when you initially set up Sonos.
Thanks. I am well aware of the voice monitoring thing and since we do not use Alexa it is not an issue for us and therefore theoretically the new privacy statement should be no big deal. However, after having read it I was under the impression much more than just the state of the equipment is being monitored now, or rather, we would give Sonos permission to monitor more now. I tried to find out from Sonos and for the unsatisfactory results of that see https://en.community.sonos.com/ask-a-question-228987/privacy-again-6790350

PS. Arguing that we once agreed to something very similar holds some water, but do not forget the internet landscape has changed dramatically in the last decade or so. When we first started buying Sonos equipment, privacy was not an issue yet (nor was there a lot to worry about at the time with the sort of connections we had back then).
Why exactly are you under that impression? Is it because of the highly inaccurate click-bait articles online, or have you actually read the policy and compared it to previous versions? Because I have done the latter, and there is no more data collection taking place now than under previous updates. The only change is you need to acknowledge that if you wish to enable voice control, the data collected currently (which you voluntarily agreed to) will now be shared with voice control patners. Truly much ado about nothing, especially if one does not use voice control.
Please, don't ump to conclusions. I did say I read it and I have now read it again. No I have not compared it with the old version because I no longer have access to an old version. I am working from (admittedly imperfect) memory. It may well be that I agreed to something that wasn't very clear in the old version which is presumably why Sonos in its blog states that is now going to be a lot clearer about what data it shares with its partners: "We’ve included this information in past versions, but in the current version we’re much more specific and clear about what information we are collecting and sharing with these partners". This in itself suggests it wasn't that clear to begin with. Did you see my other mail I linked to? Do you have answer to the question whether Sonos keeps track (i.e. collect the data) of the music we play (not the streamed music but our own) and shares that with its partners? It was the section "Additional Usage Data" in the privacy statement that worried me (no I was not impressed by news reports) and more specifically the part under "Activity Information". I certainly do not recall that from earlier privacy statements I agreed with and even if I did, things have changed. Re-reading it now I guess makes it clear that Sonos does collect basically everything I do with it:

"This includes duration of music service use, Product or room grouping information; command information such as play, pause, change volume, or skip tracks; information about track, playlist, or station container data; and Sonos playlist or Sonos favorites information; each correlated to individual Sonos Products."

I do not believe the reason given here at all except perhaps the last part ("We collect this information so that we can help ensure Sonos Products are properly functioning, determine what types of Product or feature improvements would most delight our customers, and help predict and prevent potential problems with Sonos Products"). You also have to read a little between the lines here, but it means for example that not only does Sonos know what music I play it and how often, but also when. In other words they know when we are home. In the old days I might have trusted Sonos with this, but then we had the big hacks (I am still suffering the consequences of a hack of my employer to this day), and if I read it correctly this information Sonos may now be sharing with its partners. Here it is the last line in the sharing section that worries me since it could mean anything: "We also share data with Sonos-controlled affiliates and subsidiaries." If this means they share my listening behaviour and musical taste with others I would strongly resent that. Nowhere do they state explicitly that they do not share that data! But even if they don't, it could be all over the web if they are hacked. If I agreed to a similar policy in the past it was a mistake and may well have been caused by the fact that it was not so clearly stated. What bugs me is also that I have to accept the new policy before I can opt out of some aspects of it. But I will only find out what they are after accepting. Don't they realise that some of their customers at least have become very sensitive about this sort of thing?


Then turn off the collection of additional usage data in your sonos controller, instructions clearly included in the new privacy policy. This has been an option since at least 2007.
So your entire post is pure supposition based on paranoia and a lack of faith in your own ability to read a privacy policy until it is brought to light by obscure click-bait articles that play fast and loose with the truth? Yet one wonders why they arent taken seriously.

As spelled out above, turn off additional data collection. Done deal. Any more drama is silly posturing.


Then turn off the collection of additional usage data in your sonos controller, instructions clearly included in the new privacy policy. This has been an option since at least 2007.


^Do this, then block msmetrics.ws.sonos.com. Piehole is a good tool for this. Will also allow you to easily see what new addresses Sonos inevitably adds. Your router may also have a blacklist function. This will stop the collection of the data that appears in your Sonos profile and presumably the other functional data that Sonos does not allow you to opt out of (that they've been collecting on you forever and will keep as long as they want). Works well for me but YMMV.
I would like to go back to my original question. If I understand it correctly there is no way I can update the now out of date (after 8 months) controller without accepting the new privacy policy?

jgatie ... thanks for the ad hominem attack (posturing, paranoia ...). You sure have soured over the years on the forum. If this topic pushes the wrong buttons, why react and flame the OP? Just let it go. I started this thread with a real problem: my controller will no longer work unless I accept the new privacy statement. You have done nothing to answer that except by ridiculing my concerns for privacy. As to turning off the data collection, of course I would have done that, but as I mentioned in the other posting about privacy I could not. I asked Sonos about this and never got a decent answer. I wrote: "...your website shows how I can opt out of some data collection by going to the Advanced Settings on my iOS app and switching off Usage Data Sharing. However, the app on my iPhone does not show an Advanced Settings option, neither under the main menu nor under Settings."

Insertusernamehere ... thanks for a constructive response that addresses an important concern I have. I found pi-hole but gather it has to run on a Raspberry where it serves as a DNS server for the whole network. From what I read it is primarily an ad-blocker. Is that right?
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Sorry. But it's not a "real problem".

You are completely free, and under no obligation whatsoever, to accept or reject the new privacy terms.
If you make the decision that YOU cannot live with them then you need to make peace with the consequences of that decision - You will need to sell your Sonos system.
Sonos are entitled to, and were to be expected so to do given the arrival of voice control, update their privacy policy AND require users to accept it.

Insertusernamehere ... thanks for a constructive response that addresses an important concern I have. I found pi-hole but gather it has to run on a Raspberry where it serves as a DNS server for the whole network. From what I read it is primarily an ad-blocker. Is that right?


Correct, the url is https://pi-hole.net and it is free. Blocks ads and online tracking that Google for example does.

Pihole is just a suggestion, your router very likely has the ability to blacklist and you could add the sonos address there.

Over time watch where your Sonos devices phone home and adjust your blocking as necessary.
Thanks again. I have successfully set up my Pi and rerouted the DNS server to it on my Asuswrt-Merlin powered router. I had no idea. It is amazing what flashes past! I haven't seen anything that identifies Sonos yet though.
When you open a Sonos control app it will ping the msmetrics address about every minute.
The reason your iPhone has no advanced settings is either because your version of iOS is only partially supported or your hardware and app versions are mismatched due to upgrading one and not the other.

And I will post what I like, when I like. If you feel I have stepped outside the forum TOS, feel free to report me to the mods.
The reason your iPhone has no advanced settings is either because your version of iOS is only partially supported or your hardware and app versions are mismatched due to upgrading one and not the other.

That helps. Thanks.
I'll answer my own question just in case someone else runs into the same problem. It was actually very easy, which may explain why it wasn't suggested by anyone else. I searched the Internet for a Desktop Controller 7.3 and installed that instead of upgrading. Presto! It works again and no need to upgrade (for the time being).

PS. I should add that Pi-hole works like a dream.
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What nefarious purpose do you believe Sonos wants by requiring you to update your software. Today’s technology evolves and improves over time, software updates are simply improvements.

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