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Sonos says let us spy or your stereo will not work

by on23 August 2017

21st century issues

Sound gear maker Sonos has told its customers that either they have to let them spy on their use of their products or they will not work.

The outfit has issued a new privacy policy and confirmed that existing customers will not be given an option to opt out of its new privacy policy, leaving customers with sound systems that may eventually "cease to function".

The home sound system maker wants to harvest audio settings, error data, and other account data before the launch of its smart speaker integration in the near future.

A spokesperson for the home sound system maker told ZDNet that, "if a customer chooses not to acknowledge the privacy statement, the customer will not be able to update the software on their Sonos system, and over time the functionality of the product will decrease. The customer can choose to acknowledge the policy, or can accept that over time their product may cease to function".

But users will not be able to switch off data that the company considers necessary for each Sonos device to perform its basic functions.
That "functional data" includes email addresses, IP addresses, and account login information - as well as device data, information about Wi-Fi antennas and other hardware information, room names, and error data.

Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said it was a "growing" problem among the consumer electronics space.

"[Device] makers obviously can do a lot about the problem," said Tien. "They can design their systems to separate more data collection side from product feature. Obviously some features don't work without data but even so, you can often choose to store data locally and not transmit it to some mothership somewhere."


Last modified on 23 August 2017
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