Hardware maker: Give up your privacy and let us record what you say in your home, or we’ll destroy your property
“The customer can choose to acknowledge the policy, or can accept that over time their product may cease to function,” the Sonos spokesperson said, specifically.
Sonos is particularly sneaky about the part where they record sound. They say in their blog post that they “don’t keep the recordings” of sound recorded in your home, with the new Voice Assistant. However, they point out that they share their collected data with a large number of parties, the services of which you have “requested or authorized” — where people tend to read “requested”, but where “authorized” is the large part. Further, they point out that they share recorded sound with Amazon under all circumstances, and Amazon is already known to keep recordings for later use by authorities or others, so the point is kind of moot. “We don’t keep the recordings, we let others do it for us” would be a more straightforward wording.
As ZDNet notes, the community’s reaction has been quite hostile to the manufacturer who threatens to destroy their property, and not without justification.
For my personal purchasing choices, behaving like this is enough to get on my blacklist of manufacturers, just like when Sony willfully infected its customers with rootkit malware in 2005, and Sony made it onto my blacklist. (It’s a high bar to get there, and still, hardware makers keep inventing new audacious ways to clear that bar.)
Privacy remains your own responsibility.
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“where they say they’ll be collecting a lot of data about you, including listening in to your room and (in a roundabout way) recording it.”
No, that is not what they said.
“What Sonos hears, records and keeps
First, you’ll notice that we’ve added a section on what it means if you choose to enable a voice assistant to control your Sonos system when that becomes available in your country. It’s no secret that we’ve been working on this for some time, and we want to make sure we’re preparing you well in advance of this addition. The most important thing for you to know is that Sonos does not keep recordings of your voice data. It goes to the voice assistant service (for example Amazon) that you’ve activated on your Sonos system. We’ve also included information on how our Trueplay technology analyzes your room to optimize how your product produces sound, if you choose to use it.”
What other manufacturers are on blacklist?