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OPINION: Do Consumers Actual Realise The Rights They Hand Over To The Likes Of LG & Sonos, When They Buy One Of Their Products

By Majority Australians don’t want brands collecting private information on their private lives, but try reading the terms and conditions that the bulk of Australians click away, when they buy a pair of Sonos headphones or an LG OLED TV with Web OS.

If they actually read them, I am sure most consumers would think twice about buying a product from brands that sell information to third parties about their lifestyle,  from what they watch at night, to the apps they download to the music they listen to, LG is even giving information on consumers habits to political parties who want access to the data gleaned from over 200 million LG TVs.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission Digital Platform Services Inquiry report highlights that consumers are generally unaware, as to how much of their data is collected with brands such as LG Electronics, Hisense, Sonos and Microsoft now scooping up personal and often private data and then selling it to boost their bottom line, this is on top of the data that the likes of Meta, Amazon and Google are selling to third parties.

Research reveals that most people simply click acceptance of terms and conditions tags, when they buy a new product without reading the fine print,  and this is what brands like Sonos and LG bank on, because if they did most consumers would be horrified at the rights they have just handed over to a brand.

Over 74% of the audience surveyed by the ACCC claim that they are uncomfortable with their personal information being shared with or sold to other companies with brands such as Microsoft and LG Electronics joining the group who are giving a two finger salute to their customers concerns in an effort to boost revenue from data capture.

For the hundreds of thousands of Companies collecting data the sale of personal information is easy money having already made a profit when selling a product such as a licence for Windows or Microsoft Office or in LG’s case a TV whose smart Web OS functions can only be fully accessed if you agree to their terms and conditions, which ironically users only get to access after they have purchased the TV.

A condition of buying the new Sonos Ace headphones and then getting access to functionality is that you have to accept the US audio Companies terms and conditions.

And when you click acceptance which many consumers do without reading the terms & conditions you will find your self at the mercy of what Sonos is desperately after, data on your personal listening so that they can on sell to third parties and then come back to you to buy more products directly from them as opposed to the retailer you initially purchased a Sonos product from.

The same applies to LG and their WebOS software which is being used to fuel a multibillion dollar data capture and sell operation with their management realising that there are dollars to be made selling access to information on their customers.

The ACCC warns that consumers may be unable to exercise choice or meaningful control over how their data is shared and used when you buy a product similar to what LG and Sonos sells and, whose terms and conditions are only made available after you have purchased the product.

“Its importance will only increase with the rise of artificial intelligence,” ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said.

If you have ever opened the Sonos Terms of Use License and Warranty agreement, you will quickly realise that the audio Company is not only collecting data on your lifestyle they are selling it with the exercise cloud around so called customer service claims.

This is the same Company who sold perfectly good speakers and then nobbled them in an effort to force consumers to buy a new one.

If you take their Play 5 speaker today, it’s dead in the water when it comes to Bluetooth or Wi Fi connectivity, and the best you will get out of it despite there being nothing wrong with the speaker, is if you plug in a CD player or other piece of hardware.

This is the same Company who bragged about their audio networking D&A when they first launched their Sonos speakers.

Their spin on data collection and the sale of, is that the collection of data allows them to give you the best and most efficient customer support possible, they claim.

Click image to read Terms & Conditions

They also have the right to turn you off from their apps and software if you engage with another third party.

One clause state that Sonos reserves the right to discontinue access to and/or support for any third party service, content or technology at any time, and for any reason.

They also claim that at all times Your personal information will be treated in accordance with Sonos Privacy Statement, which can be viewed at: www.sonos.com/legal/privacy.

A visit to these terms and conditions reveals that the use of your personal information may be necessary to perform an agreement you have with Sonos which in plain English means that if you don’t accept their terms and conditions after splashing out to buy a product you will not get access to the features outlined in their marketing.

For Sonos and LG Electronics data is a commodity to be traded which in LG Electronics case delivered over$1 billion dollars in raw profit last year.

Sonos also claim that they would also share your personal information in the event of a merger, acquisition, or sale of all or a portion of their assets.

The Verge recently claimed that very smart device now requires you to agree to a series of terms and conditions before you can use it — contracts that no one actually reads.
It’s impossible for us to read and analyse every single one of these agreements.
But we started counting exactly how many times you have to hit “agree” to use devices when we review them since these are agreements most people don’t read and definitely can’t negotiate.

By opening the packaging for the Sonos Ace — it says so right on the pull tabs — you’re agreeing to:

Sonos’ terms of use, license, and warranty agreement
Sonos’ privacy statement policy
The final tally is two mandatory agreements.

The big question now is whether it’s time for the ACCC and the Federal Government, to step in and force brands who are surreptitiously collecting data, which they make available to third parties, to only collect and sell data with the express permission of the owner of the goods.
They also need to stop the forced acceptance of terms and conditions, which if not accepted limit the performance of a product.

What needs to be made clear is, an opt out button that clearly states: Do you want to allow the collection of data on your usage of this device and the content you watch or listen to be made available to third parties.
Yes or No, with tough penalties for none compliance.

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