Are you concerned about having your listening habits tracked by the electronic devices you use? A class action lawsuit filed in Chicago yesterday accused Boston-based Bose of doing exactly that, and selling the information it collected using an app to third parties without the permission of its users.
The complaint specifically states that “To fully operate its wireless products, customers must download Defendant’s ‘Bose Connect’ mobile application from the Apple App or Google Play stores and install it on their smartphones.”
The problem is that unbeknownst to users, app collects data on their music and other audio selections. The lawsuit states the app will “Collect and record the titles of the music and audio files its customers choose to play through their Bose wireless products and transmit such data along with other personal identifiers to third-parties—including a data miner—without its customers’ knowledge or consent.”
The district court filing notes that “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.”
These are serious issues, but it’s worth noting that users are not required to use the app to operate their headphones. But, the app does offer additional options for the products mentioned in the lawsuit, which are not accessible without the app.
Wireless products that are accused of spying when used with the Bose app include QuietComfort 35 Headphones, QuietControl 30 In-Ear Headphones, SoundSport Wireless In-Ear Headphones, SoundLink Color II Bluetooth Speaker, and SoundLink II Over-Ear Headphones.
The lawsuit does not specify damages but does state it’s a potential violation of the Wiretap Act and states “the amount in controversy exceeds $5,000,000, exclusive of interests and costs.”
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, but consumer sentiment appears to be against Bose in this instance. And for now, if you own an affected Bose product and are concerned about privacy, don’t use the app.