Audio brand Sonos is ruffling the feathers of its user base again after it was discovered the company had made an important update to its private policy. As pointed out by YouTuber and repair technician Louis Rossman, the change affects the “How We May Share Personal Information” section. 

The old policy had a line that read, “Sonos does not and will not sell personal information about our customers.” After that, the rest of the paragraph discussed how certain data practices could be considered as a “sale of data” in certain US states.

Now, if you look at the June 2024 update, the line about Sonos not selling personal data is gone. The rest of the paragraph regarding data practices is exactly the same, though. 

It may be one small change, but it was enough to start a wildfire among the user base. People are not happy at all. Rossman’s video was posted to the Sonos subreddit, and its comment section is a non-stop barrage of people criticizing the brand.

Privacy worries

Users in the post seem to believe the policy change means Sonos will begin selling customer data to third parties. One person argues the brand is alienating its loyal customer base and wants to rebuild its business “with consumers who just don’t care about privacy.” These sentiments are echoed by others, and as you can see, the overall attitude is very cynical.

Interestingly, the line seems to only be gone in the US policy. We checked the Canadian, Spanish, British, and Australian privacy pages and that line about Sonos not selling customer information is still there and is in bold text. 

It’s unknown why only the American policy was changed. A comment we saw online argues that it could be because consumer protection laws in other countries may be more strict than those in the US.

Analysis: benefit of the doubt

You can’t really blame these consumers too much for such a negative reaction. Internet privacy and data collection have been hot topics for many years as people worry about big tech spying on them. It’s a major concern that has proven itself to be legitimate over time. Plus, Sonos users haven’t been too happy with the brand after being burned by a recent app update that removed basic features. 

However, it’s possible that people are just blowing things out of proportion. The removal of the first line doesn’t necessarily mean Sonos is selling customer data to make a quick buck. In fact, this whole situation reminds us a lot of what happened to Adobe.

If you’re not aware, Adobe also changed its Terms of Use policy not too long ago. The policy had text that led users to believe the company would be taking the content they made to train their AI. Adobe has since clarified the wording in the update, assuring their customers that it won’t actually look at or take anything. It was all one big misunderstanding.

We’re going to give Sonos the benefit of the doubt here and assume this is just a misunderstanding and that the policy change was some legal thing they had to do in the US. To learn more, we reached out to Sonos, asking if it could clarify what the change means to its users and we'll update this story if we hear back.

Til then, check out TechRadar's list of the best Bluetooth speakers for 2024.

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