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April 20, 2017

Bose Wireless Headphones Spy on Listeners, Lawsuit Alleges

by John_A

Bose has been hit by a lawsuit that accuses the company of spying on its wireless headphone customers through its Bose Connect mobile app and violating consumer privacy rights (via Reuters).

The complaint was filed on Tuesday in a Chicago federal court by Kyle Zak, who is seeking an injunction to stop Bose’s “wholesale disregard” for the privacy of customers who download the app to their smartphones.

The lawsuit alleges that Bose tracks the listening habits of users when they are wearing headsets like the company’s QuietComfort 35 headphones, gleaning information through the app such as music tracks played, podcasts, and other audio listened to.

According to Zak, who bought a pair of $350 QC35 cans, Bose sends all available information to third parties such as Segment.io, a data capture outfit whose website promises to “collect all of your customer data and send it anywhere”.

“People should be uncomfortable with it,” Christopher Dore, a lawyer representing Zak, said in an interview. “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.”

Audio choices offer “an incredible amount of insight” into customers’ personalities, behavior, politics and religious views, the complaint said, citing as an example that a person who listens to Muslim prayers might “very likely” be a Muslim.

Zak is seeking millions of dollars of damages for customers who bought Bose headphones and speakers, including QuietComfort 35, QuietControl 30, SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, SoundLink Color II, SoundSport Wireless and SoundSport Pulse Wireless.

Zak also wants a halt to the data collection, which he said violates the federal Wiretap Act and Illinois laws against eavesdropping and consumer fraud. Bose has yet to respond to requests for comment on the proposed class action case.

Tag: Bose
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