Bose Gets Hit with Privacy Breach Lawsuit
Headphone maker Bose has had a class-action lawsuit filed against them, alleging that the company’s smartphone app spies on people and collects their data without consent. The data in question mostly concerns the music Bose customers listen to, the podcasts they subscribe to, etc: all the information that goes through the Bose Connect app. The suit also alleges that this information is then sold to third parties.
All in all, serious allegations, as no company wants to be seen as one that treads mud on customers’ private data. The claimants, led by one Kyle Zak, are demanding $5 million in damages, saying that Bose’s alleged spying is in breach of both state and federal laws while also showing a “wholesale disregard for consumer privacy rights.” The suit also claims that Bose tried covering up that it was selling data onward to companies — only the infamous data-mining firm Segment.io is mentioned by name — compounding its guilt in the eyes of claimants and, if proven true, likely with the court, as well.
The Bose Connect app allows Android and iOS users to quickly connect their headphones from one device to another and is not necessary to listen to anything; it’s mostly there for the convenience of users. The devices affected by the alleged spying are part of the QuietComfort and SoundSport ranges. How this will affect the company remains to be seen, but it is a scary idea that people’s listening habits are for sale on the open market.
Though it may not seem so at first sight, what you listen to says a lot about you, your habits and your behavior. As the suit states, one could easily identify someone’s ethnicity or religion by checking whether they, for instance, listen to a Muslim call to prayer. There likely is a long legal battle ahead, it will be interesting to see what happens.
Fergus has been tinkering with computers since he was a kid and likes to put a stop to parties by listing the specs of all the digital devices in the room. It's best not to let him near your computer since he'll take it apart and may not put it back together again before he leaves.