Audio-gear manufacturer Bose has been accused of spying on users of its premium wireless headphones - including the very popular - via the company's Connect smartphone app.
Behaviors related to listening can be intensely personal, the lawsuit alleges, and can be used to determine, for example, if the listener is Muslim, autistic, gay or HIV-positive.
The complaint acknowledges that customer data can be valuable to Bose, but selling it to third parties represents a "wholesale disregard for consumer privacy rights" and violates several laws including the federal Wiretap Act and several IL state privacy laws.
Zak, represented by Benjamin S. Thomassen of Edelson PC, says Bose is violating the Federal Wiretap Act and the Illinois Eavesdropping Act, and asks the court to order the company to stop its data collection and destroy what it already has.
The complaint argues that the music, radio programs, and podcasts people listen to "reveal sensitive information about themselves that suggests their politics, religious views, thoughts, sentiments, and emotions".
There is no indication from the lawsuit that the data allegedly "shared" with Segment.io is for any other objective than Bose's own product-development and internal marketing needs. This violates their privacy rights since the company then sells the information without their permission.
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. "And that's just a small sampling of what can be learned from one's music preferences", the lawsuit reads, according to CNET.
But the IL resident said he was surprised to learn that Bose sent "all available media information" from his smartphone to third parties such as Segment.io, whose website promises to collect customer data and "send it anywhere". "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". Dore said Bose is the first headphone company Edelson has found to collect such data. 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.