24 April 2017
One of the world's biggest headphone maker Bose has been accused of spying on users with its wireless headphones. The accusation has been made in a lawsuit filed by a person named Kyle Zak in a federal court in Chicago. It has been claimed to be violating different state laws including the WireTape act.
In the lawsuit, the lead plaintiff has mentioned that Bose asks its headphone users to download an optional app called Bose Connect. The app is said to offer better customization and help users "get the most out of your headphones". It requires them to provide personal details like name, email address, and phone number.
But the actual reason of worry mentioned in the lawsuit is that Bose uses the app to create user profiles and link their listening habits and histories for data mining. This data is then shared with marketing websites like a San Francisco-based firm Segment which claims to "collect all or your customer customer data and send it anywhere." All of this is said to be happening without any consent from user's end which makes this a case of illegal data mining.
The complaint reads, "Indeed, one’s personal audio selections – including music, radio broadcast, Podcast, and lecture choices – provide an incredible amount of insight into his or her personality, behavior, political views, and personal identity."
The lead plaintiff Zak is a Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphone user but has also mentioned other models like SoundSport Wireless, Sound Sport Pulse Wireless, QuietControl 30, SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, and SoundLink Color II in the lawsuit.
Zak is looking to represent other Bose users in the case as well. While the lawsuit does not specify any specific damages, it is said to be worth over $5 million. On the other hand, Bose has denied all these allegations straight way and has said it will fight these claims through the legal system.