Bose headsets secretly spy on users, alleges lawsuit


One of the third parties that allegedly receives information from the Bose Connect app is, a company whose homepage touts, "Collect all of your customer data and send it anywhere". The app is pushed by the maker of high-end speakers and headphones because it is something all companies do now-a-days to connect with their customers.

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

The lawsuit alleges that Bose did not inform Zak that it would collect and share such data.

The privacy policy does not describe how Bose collects that data, though, nor does it specify if a user's listening data counts as "non-personal" information. The complaint, filed Tuesday in federal court in Chicago, wants to stop Bose's "wholesale disregard" for customers' privacy, according to a report from Reuters.

"People should be uncomfortable with it", said Christopher Dore, a lawyer representing Zak.

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"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", the complaint states.

The serial number information is important, notes the lawsuit, because if a customer has registered their product with Bose, then then company can put together all the collected audio information along with the personal data provided during the registration process: name, email address, and phone number.

The lawsuit alleges Bose violated the federal Wiretap Act and Illinois' eavesdropping and consumer fraud laws by tracking user listening habits and sharing them without consent. "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".

In addition, Zak alleged that the Connect app also "intercepted and collected all available Media Information" from his smartphone every time it was opened, after Zak paired the app with his QuietComfort 35 headphones. "For example, a person that listens to Muslim prayer services through his headphones or speakers is very likely a Muslim, a person that listens to the Ashamed, Confused, And In the Closet Podcast is very likely a homosexual in need of a support system, and a person that listens to The Body's HIV/AIDS Podcast is very likely an individual that has been diagnosed and is living with HIV or AIDS", the complaint reads. Instead, it's a companion app that is meant to give the owners of various Bose headsets - QC35, SoundSport wireless, SoundSport Pulse wireless, QuietControl 30 and SoundLink wireless II - and speakers - SoundLink Color II, SoundLink Revolve and SoundLink Revolve+ - more control over their devices.

Bose Corp. was founded in 1964 by Indian American Amar Bose.