Bose wireless headphones are spying on users, lawsuit claims

The complaint - seen by Fortune - claims that Bose was collecting information pertaining to its users listening habits via the Bose Connect app, which is used with Bose hardware. The app is pushed by the maker of high-end speakers and headphones because it is something all companies do now-a-days to connect with their customers.

According to a copy of the complaint obtained by Bleeping Computer, Zak claims that Bose has used its mobile application, named Bose Connect, to collect data on users.

According to the complaint [PDF] filed yesterday in a federal court in IL, when owners of Bose wireless headsets use the Bose Connect app on their smartphones, it collects the information about the songs you listen to and allegedly transmits this data - along with other identifying information - to third parties. "Consumers went to buy headphones and were transformed into profit centers for data miners", Jay Edelson, founder and CEO of the firm that filed the lawsuit, said in a press release.

But the IL resident said he was surprised to learn that Bose sent "all available media information" from his smartphone to third parties such as Segment.io, whose website promises to collect customer data and "send it anywhere".

The privacy policy does not describe how Bose collects that data, though, nor does it specify if a user's listening data counts as "non-personal" information.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Bose for allegedly "secretly" tracking the listening habits of its customers through its headphone and speaker companion app Connect.

When interviewed, a lawyer for Zak said, "People should be uncomfortable with it. People put headphones on their head because they think it's private, but they can be giving out information they don't want to share".

But the IL resident said he was surprised to learn that Bose sent "all available media information" from his smartphone to third parties such as Segment.io, whose website promises to collect customer data and "send it anywhere".

The complaint argues that the music, radio programs, and podcasts people listen to "reveal sensitive information about themselves that suggests their politics, religious views, thoughts, sentiments, and emotions". When it comes other types of audio tracks, the personality, values, likes, dislikes, and preferences of the listener are more self-evident.

In addition to the QuietComfort 35 headphones, the other Bose products cited in the complaint are the SoundSport Wireless, Sound Sport Pulse Wireless, QuietControl 30, SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, and SoundLink Color II. He downloaded the Bose app, as suggested in the accompanying documents, providing his name, address, and serial number for the headset.

Plaintiff also says Bose Corp. violates the Illinois Eavesdropping Statute, which prohibits activity that "ntercepts, records, or transcribes, in a surreptitious manner any private electronic communication to which he or she is not a party unless he or she does so with the consent of all parties to the private electronic communication".

Vanessa Coleman

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