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Lawsuit Accuses Bose of Tracking What Customers Listen to On Wireless Headphones

by Staff Contributor on April 22, 2017

A recent lawsuit has alleged that Bose Corp spies on its wireless headphone customers through the use of an app that tracks the music, podcasts and other audio they listen to; in doing so, the company violates the privacy rights of the customers by then proceeding to sell this information without the permission of the customers.

The complaint was filed on Tuesday by Kyle Zak in federal court in Chicago, which has the goal of causing a sanction of some sort with the intent of preventing Bose’s “wholesale disregard” for the privacy of customers who download its free Bose Connect app from Apple Inc. or Google Play stores on their smartphones.

“People should be uncomfortable with it,” Christopher Dore, Zak’s lawyer, declared 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.”

Bose, however, has not yet did responded to appeals for comment on the proposed class action case. The company, which is based in Framingham, Massachusetts, has previously divulged that its sales per year typically exceed $3.5 billion.

Zak’s lawsuit is only the most recent in a string of similar cases which expose and indict companies for attempting to increase their monetary profit by secretly stockpiling customer information, and then selling it or using it to solicit more business.

After paying $350 for his QuietComfort 35 headphones, Zak revealed that he followed Bose’s recommendation to “get the most out of your headphones” by downloading its app to his smartphone, and inputting his name, email address and headphone serial number in the process.

However, the Illinois inhabitant said he was quite off guard upon discovering that Bose sent “all available media information” from his smartphone to third parties such as Segment.io, whose website guarantees that it will gather data from customers of products and “send it anywhere.”

Audio selections provide “an incredible amount of insight” into customers’ dispositions, behavior, political stances and religious beliefs, mentioning as an example that someone who chooses to listen to Muslim prayers might “very likely” be a Muslim, the complaint detailed.

The complaint went further to declare that, “Defendants’ conduct demonstrates a wholesale disregard for consumer privacy rights.”

Zak is requesting millions of dollars of indemnities for customers who purchased certain affected headphones and speakers, including QuietComfort 35, QuietControl 30, SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, SoundLink Color II, SoundSport Wireless and SoundSport Pulse Wireless.

He also desires that there be a cessation of the data collection, which he believes breaches the federal Wiretap Act and Illinois laws against eavesdropping and consumer fraud.

Dore, a partner at Edelson PC, asserted that customers do not see the Bose app’s user service and privacy agreements when signing up and that the privacy agreement included does not go into detail or even hint at anything regarding data collection.

Edelson concentrates in charging technology businesses because of suspected violations of privacy.

Featured Image via Wikimedia

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Staff Contributor
Born and raised New Yorker with foreign parents; aftermaths include: having the tendency to switch languages mid-sentence, an endless stock of funny stories (normally founded on cultural/linguistic misunderstanding), a love of travel and reading, an excessive amount of curiosity (not nosy, just intrigued!), a sincere appreciation for food and coffee, and the ability to react to just about any situation with an infectious bout of laughter.
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