Bose Class Action Lawsuit Claims Headphones “Spy” On Users

A class action lawsuit filed over Bose headphones alleges that the manufacturer of the high-end products monitored and sold users’ listening data without their knowledge or consent, using its Bose Connect mobile app. 

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Kyle Zakin the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on April 18, accusing Bose Corporation of “secretly collecting, transmitting, and disclosing its customers’ private music and audio selections to third parties, including a data mining company” without the consent of the consumer.

The lawsuit seeks class action status, indicating that Bose illegally harvested information on user’s personal audio selections, including music, radio, broadcast, Podcast and lecture choices. According to the complaint, the collection of this information “provides an incredible amount of insight into his or her personality, behavior, political views and personal identity,” which is then being distributed to companies who have the freedom to disburse the information as they please.

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Zak’s claim alleges Bose has created detailed profiles of customers’ listening histories and habits, and has been sharing the data with marketing companies. One company the complaint alleges information was shared to is a San Francisco based firm called Segment, whose website offers to collect your customer data and send it anywhere.

The lawsuit revolves around certain Bose headphones including the QuietComfort 35, SoundSport Wireless, Quiet Control 30, SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, and SoundLink Color II models. The popular headphone models can be used with or without the Bose Connect app, which is where personal listening choices and audio information is stored within personal profiles.

The Bose class action indicates that consumers are encouraged to download the Bose Connect app due to the additional options provided when creating a profile, such as several Bose product wireless functions. The defendant claims this blindly entices consumers to allow the manufacturer to harvest their data and sell it.

The lawsuit seeks to pursue damages for any individual within the United States who purchased a Bose Wireless Product and installed the Bose Connect mobile app. It also alleges the collection of consumer information without consent and notification by Bose is a violation and complete disregard for consumer privacy rights and violates several Federal and State laws including the Federal Wiretap Act, which prohibits the intentional “interception” of “wire, oral,or electronic communications and prohibits the intentional disclosure of such information.

In addition to the alleged violation of the Federal Wiretap Act, Zak claims Bose violated the Illinois Eavesdropping Statute and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practice Act.

Additional allegations brought against Bose Corporation include Unjust Enrichment, for the unknown harvesting of listening information that Bose has been selling to marketing and data mining sources, and Intrusion Upon Seclusion.


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