Bose has been accused of spying on its users and sending their information to third-party companies, a US lawsuit has revealed.
The complaint — seen by Fortune — claims that Bose was collecting information pertaining to its users listening habits via the Bose Connect app, which is used with Bose hardware. The products listed in the lawsuit include the SoundSport Wireless, Sound Sport Pulse Wireless, QuietControl 30, SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, SoundLink Color II and the QuietComfort 35 headphones.
The lawsuit, filed by plaintiff Kyle Zak, accuses Bose of “secretly collecting, transmitting, and disclosing its customers’ private music and audio selections to third parties, including a data mining company.” The information allegedly obtained by Bose includes music, radio broadcasts, podcasts and lecture choices, granting them a significant amount of data regarding its users’ listening habits that were then reportedly distributed to third-party companies.
“Though the data collected from its customers’ smartphones is undoubtedly valuable to the company, [Bose’s] conduct demonstrates a wholesale disregard for consumer privacy rights and violates numerous state and federal laws,” the lawsuit reads. “One’s personal audio selections – including music, radio broadcast, podcast and lecture choices – provide an incredible amount of insight into his or her personality, behaviour, political views and personal identity.”
The lawsuit then goes on to provide specific examples of how Bose obtaining and selling such information violates its users’ right to privacy. “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. “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.”
The lawsuit, which was filedin Chicago on Tuesday, states that the case is worth over $5 million, though doesn’t specify damages. Plaintiff Zak is seeking to represent other headphone owners over the data mining allegations.