Lawsuit Accuses Bose Headphones of Spying on Us
Or, of spying on those users who downloaded the Bose Connect app
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2017 7:15 AM CDT
Bose headphones rest of the bench before an NFL football game between the Houston Texans and the Detroit Lions, Sunday, October, 30, 2016, in Houston.   (AP Photo/George Bridges)

(Newser) – Sometimes apps enhance products, but sometimes they also unlock access to a user's private activity. (Remember those vibrators?) A lawsuit filed in Chicago Tuesday alleges that headphone maker Bose is doing just that with its Bose Connect app—spying on its consumers' listening habits and gathering data it then provides to third parties without user consent, reports Fortune. The wireless headphones at issue retail for up to $350, and lead plaintiff Kyle Zak says that in taking the company's advice to "get the most out of your headphones," he download the companion app—but ended up providing much more than his name, number, and email address. He argues that Bose is violating the WireTap Act, and while damages are not specified, the complaint alleges "the amount in controversy exceeds $5,000,000."

The Bose Connect app can be used with several headsets, including QC35, SoundSport wireless, and QuietControl 30, as well as a variety of SoundLink speakers, reports Consumerist. Anything a person listens to on them—the complaint gives examples beyond music, like a Muslim prayer service or LGBT podcast—could be tied to that person, the potential class-action suit alleges, fingering Segment.io as one of the third parties to receive this data. (Billboard notes Segment's home page reads, in part: "Collect all of your customer data and send it anywhere.") "This case shows the new world we are all living in," an attorney for the plaintiff says. "Consumers went to buy headphones and were transformed into profit centers for data miners." A rep for Bose called the allegations "inflammatory, misleading." (Headphone companies may be deceptive about safety, too.)

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