Sonos updates its privacy policy and seemingly hints they’ll begin selling user data

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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Microsoft seemingly won’t give up pushing Bing AI onto Windows 11 users

Windows 11 is continually badgering folks to use Microsoft’s Bing AI in test builds of the operating system, it may not come as much of a surprise to hear.

PhantomOfEarth pointed out on Twitter that this is happening in preview versions of Windows 11 – most notably the Beta channel – and as you can see, the pop-up springs from the search box on the taskbar, urging users to launch Bing AI from that part of the interface.

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It's an annoying nag to use the AI, and what’s more, the Twitter leaker notes that there doesn’t appear to be any obvious way of telling Windows 11 that these pop-ups are unwanted.

Or rather, PhantomOfEarth clarifies that there are “two buttons to get it to go away” but that even after using those, it “tends to pop up occasionally with no way to turn it off (afaik)”.

Another Twitter user suggests there may be another way to switch it off under notifications, which PhantomOfEarth says they’ll try, but we didn’t hear anything about that being successful since the tweet at the weekend.

So, the jury’s still out on that, but whatever the case, it looks like this nag isn’t an easy one to rid yourself of – if you can get rid of it at all.


Analysis: This pop-up just doesn’t make a lot of sense

As we already observed, Microsoft trying to push Bing AI is no surprise from a general point of view (the software giant has been working hard to improve the AI, and doubtless wants a lot of eyeballs on it). Indeed, of late, Microsoft has been trying all sorts of angles for recruiting more users to its various services, whether that’s the Bing chatbot, or OneDrive to pick a couple of obvious examples. (OneDrive has recently been promoted via ‘badging’ in the Start menu – basically just ads veiled as suggestions).

What’s a bit odd here is seeing this rather persistent prompt for Bing AI kicking around in the taskbar when Copilot has just been introduced in testing.

As you’re likely aware, Windows Copilot is essentially the Bing AI dropped into the heart of Windows 11 (in a side panel), complete with additional abilities to intelligently adjust Windows settings (there aren’t many of those to begin with, though).

So, with Copilot on the horizon – and due in the 23H2 update, according to some rumors (we’re not convinced it’s at all ready, mind) – why mess around with search box prompts for Bing AI at this point? Especially when the possibly close-to-launch Copilot has full integration into Windows 11.

It doesn’t make a lot of sense to us, particularly when – as you can see from PhantomOfEarth’s reaction in the above tweet – this is annoying testers right now.

We’re hoping, then, that this is a piece of experimentation in test builds that Microsoft will soon do away with. That said, we can’t say the same about the ads already in place with Copilot in testing

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