Lawsuit filed in Chicago alleges Bose headphones spy on listeners

Bose

A lawsuit filed in Chicago federal court alleges Bose has been spying on the listeners of the company’s patented wireless headphones and speakers.

CHICAGO (Diya TV) — The Bose Corporation has been using the company’s trademark wireless headphones to spy on consumers by using an app that tracks the music, podcasts and other audio they listen to, and violates their privacy rights by selling the information without permission, a recently filed lawsuit has alleged.

The complaint, filed Tuesday in Chicago federal court by a Kyle Zak, seeks an injunction to stop Bose’s “wholesale disregard” for the privacy of customers who download its free Bose Connect app from Apple Inc or Google Play stores to their smartphones.

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

Zak’s lawsuit was the latest to accuse companies of trying to boost profit by quietly amassing customer information, and then selling it or using it to solicit more business. The Framingham, Massachusetts-based company has said annual sales top $3.5 billion.

Zak paid $350 for his QuietComfort 35 headphones and said he took the company’s advice to “get the most out of your headphones” by downloading its app, and providing his name, email address and headphone serial number in the process. However, he said he was surprised to learn afterward that Bose sent “all available media information” from his smartphone to third parties such as Segment.io, whose website promises to collect customer data and “send it anywhere.”

Audio choices offer “an incredible amount of insight” into customers’ personalities, behavior, politics and religious views, citing as an example that a person who listens to Muslim prayers might “very likely” be a Muslim, the complaint said. “Defendants’ conduct demonstrates a wholesale disregard for consumer privacy rights,” it read.

Zak is seeking millions of dollars in damages in the suit for buyers of headphones and speakers, including QuietComfort 35, QuietControl 30, SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, SoundLink Color II, SoundSport Wireless and SoundSport Pulse Wireless.

He is further seeking to halt to the data collection, which he said violates the federal Wiretap Act and Illinois laws against eavesdropping and consumer fraud.

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