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Bose Accused Of Spying On Customers In Class Action Suit

20 April, 2017, 09:17 | Author: Nadine Todd
  • Bose slapped with wiretap lawsuit claiming headphone app spies on users

A class claims in federal court that headphone and speaker giant Bose Corporation has been spying on its customers' listening preferences through its mobile app Bose Connect.

Bose has been accused of spying on its users and sending their information to third-party companies, a U.S. lawsuit has revealed.

The complaint filed on Tuesday by Kyle Zak accuses Bose of violating the WireTap Act and other privacy laws.

But the IL resident said he was surprised to learn 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".

Many electronics vendors track consumer data in aggregate to better serve their needs, often using third-party firms like Segment.io to collect the data and crunch the numbers. The complaint against the Framingham, Massachusetts-based company was filed by an IL resident, Kyle Zak, in federal court in Chicago on Tuesday.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Bose for allegedly "secretly" tracking the listening habits of its customers through its headphone and speaker companion app Connect. The complaint says that Bose created detailed profiles of customers using the app, including their listening histories and habits - what was played multiple times, which songs were skipped, etc - and then shared these profiles with marketing companies.

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. "In fact, numerous scientific studies show that musical preferences reflect explicit characteristics such as age, personality, and values, and can likely even be used to identify people with autism spectrum conditions". "None of defendant's customers could have ever anticipated that these types of music and audio selections would be recorded and sent to, of all people, a third party data miner for analysis".

Connect's licensing agreement on iTunes notes that use of the app also operates as the user's consent to "the collection, transmission, and storage of certain standard networking information, device usage data, and Bose product information via the internet to servers owned or controlled by Bose or operated by third parties on behalf of Bose".

Zak is seeking to represent other headphone owners over allegations of illegal data mining.

Zak is now seeking millions of dollars of damages for buyers of headphones and speakers and also wants to stop the data collection which he says violates the federal Wiretap Act and IL laws against eavesdropping and consumer fraud. Bose encourages users to download the app "to get the most out of your headphones" and asks for basic information such as an email address, name, and headphone serial number. Dore said Bose is the first headphone company Edelson has found to collect such data.

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