20.04.17

Bose accused of spying on listeners via app

Bose Logo and tag line

Bose Corporation is being sued for reportedly collecting personal data on customers and selling it to advertisers, in violation of Federal Wiretap Act.

Chicago resident Kyle Zak argues the company has shown a “wholesale disregard” for the privacy of consumers by not disclosing that it keeps a record of every song and podcast a user listens to via Bose Connect app and sells the information to third parties (such as analytics firm Segment.io).

Segment.io claims to offer the ability to collect data and “send it anywhere” on its official website.

“People should be uncomfortable with it,” said Christopher Dore of Edelson PC, the firm representing Chicago resident Kyle Zak, who has filed the lawsuit against the manufacturer in federal court.

He added that user’s listening habits gave an “incredible amount of insight" into someone's personal life, religious and political views to advertisers. Although there is no indication that specific user accounts were tied to any data allegedly collected.

Zak says he downloaded the Bose Connect app after purchasing the company’s QuietComfort 35 headphones, signing up by entering his name, email address and headphone serial number. Lawyer Dore said the sign-up process for Bose’s app provided no information about how much data it was collecting nor what it planned to do with it.

The Connect apps allows users to control a range of features, such as noise cancellation and software updates, on their smartphone. The app also works with Bose’s SoundSport wireless, SoundSport Pulse wireless, QuietControl 30 and SoundLink wireless II headphones, as well as its SoundLink Color II, SoundLink Revolve and SoundLink Revolve+ speakers – all of which the which the lawsuit allegedly claims Bose collects data from.

The manufacturer encourages users to download the companion app to “get the most out of your headphones,” and to “unlock current and future headphone features.”

Zak is seeking $5 million (£3.9m) in damages and an injunction preventing the company from collecting user data.

Bose has not yet responded to requests for comment about the legal action.