According to a complaint filed in a federal court in Chicago, Bose Corp. is spying on their wireless headphone customers by using an app and collecting personal data without their consent. The complainant Kyle Zak says Bose is tracking the podcasts, music, and other audio their customers are listening and then selling the private details to data mining companies.
Bose Is Sacrificing Customer Privacy
“This is wholesale disregard for the privacy of customers”, says Kyle Zak, a resident of Illinois. He is asking the court for an injunction as Bose Corp. is violating a number of privacy protection laws of the country. Christopher Dore, a lawyer representing Zak says, “People should be uncomfortable with it. 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”.
Customers have to download the free Bose Connect app from Google Play or Apple Inc stores to their smartphones. Bose Corp. suggests customers should download the app to “get the most out of your headphones”. They have to provide their personal details such as names, email addresses, and headphone serial numbers while they are downloading. The Framingham, Massachusetts-based company has not yet responded to the complaint.
Bose Is Making Money By Selling Customer Data Without Permission
The lawsuit further accuses Bose Corp. of trying to quietly boost profits by gathering customer information and then selling it to third-parties for revenue. For instance, as per the complainant, information collected from customers is being sent to Segment.io, whose website promises to collect customer data and “send it anywhere”. The lawsuit mentions that Bose is selling the information to many other companies.
Many businesses will be interested in this information because it tells a lot about the person, such as his politics and religious views and behaviors. For instance, if someone is listening to a lot of church music, then he is likely to be a Christian. The data can even give the buyer information about the health, and sexual orientation of a customer.
The privacy agreements don’t mention anything about this data collection.
Kyle Zak is seeking millions of dollars in damages for all the buyers of Bose headphones and speakers, including the QuietControl 30, QuietComfort 35, SoundSport Wireless, SoundLink Color II, SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, and the SoundSport Pulse Wireless.
Bose also must stop collecting the data, he says.