A lawsuit filed by an Illinois, Chicago-based man alleges that Bose secretly collects and shares data on users of its wireless headphones. The suit alleges that the Boston, Massachusetts-based Bose stands in violation of the WireTap Act as well as other state privacy laws since the audio history of a person can betray details concerning their life and views.
“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,” reads the complaint.
The lawsuit alleges that Bose created very detailed customer profiles, listening habits and histories which the audio maker shared with marketing firms. This included Segment, a San Francisco, California-based firm. The data was collected through the Bose connect app. Though the Bose Connect app is optional, it lets users of the headphones configure and control their listening experience in a more personalized way.
Kyle Zak, the suit’s lead plaintiff, revealed that at Bose’s recommendation he downloaded the app in order to fully exploit the features and functionally of the company’s headphones. This process required him to provide personal information such as email address, phone number and name. However, the complaint alleges that Bose failed because it did not warn or notify those downloading the app about the data mining. The lead plaintiff now wants to represent other ‘victims’ who may have fallen prey to alleged acts of unlawful data mining.
While the licensing agreement of the app explicitly states that using it constitutes giving Bose consent to collect, transmit and store user’s data, there is no specific mention of audio data that has formed the basis of the lead plaintiff’s complaint. Bose’s policy does not also declare whether the listening history and habits of a user constitute what it terms as non-personal information.
Some of the products manufactured by Bose that are mentioned in the lawsuit include QuietComfort 35 headphones which have been enthusiastically reviewed and received and QuietControl 30. Others include SoundLink Color II, SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, Sound Sport Pulse Wireless, and SoundSport Wireless.
The lawsuit which did not reveal how the lead plaintiff discovered the violations claims that the case could be worth over $5 million though damages haven’t been specified. But as a matter of urgency the lawsuit wants injunction issued to prevent the audio maker from continuing its data collection and sharing practices. Bose did not immediately respond.