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24 April 2017 at 10:57 BST

Bose being sued for tracking and selling habits of headphone users

A proposed class action has been filed in Chicago against Bose for allegedly tracking the listening habits of its headphone users and then selling the information to third-party companies without permission.

Kaspars Grinvalds

Bose - the maker of  audio players and headphones – is being sued after allegations it has been collecting data of its users’ choices in music, podcasts, news programming and all other audio they listen to. The lead plaintiff is Kyle Zak, who bought a $350 pair of wireless Bose headphones in March and then registered them online using his name and address and downloaded Bose Connect, an app that allows customers to pair their headphones to their smartphones using a Bluetooth connection. The app can also remotely share music between devices as well as adjust playlists and noise cancellation settings.


It is alledged that Bose designed Bose Connect to collect the titles of the audio files its customers play and then ‘transmit such data along with other personal identifiers to third-parties - including a data miner - without its customers’ knowledge or consent.’ Mr Zak said that he never provided his consent to Bose to collect his listening habits nor disclose that data to anyone else.


However, Bose said in a statement that it would ‘fight the inflammatory, misleading allegations made against us through the legal system,’ and that nothing was more important to the company than the trust of its customers. ‘In the Bose Connect App, we don’t wiretap your communications, we don’t sell your information, and we don’t use anything we collect to identify you – or anyone else – by name,’ the statement posted to Facebook continued.

Latest case of its kind

This is the latest case of its kind as Global Legal Post recently reported that an Internet-connected sex toy maker settled a lawsuit for $3.75 million. In September, a lawsuit was filed in an Illinois court against Standard Innovation, which manufactures the popular We-Vibe sex aid, because newer versions of the device share 'highly intimate' data over the web. We-Vibe Rave, released two years ago, is Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatible. A mobile phone app called We-Connect allows users and their partners to control the Rave’s intensity and vibration patterns remotely over the Internet and allows for private text messages and video calls. Women came out on top in the case they took against the vibrator manufacturer after they realised highly personal data was being gathered via its mobile app regarding customer product use including date and time of each use and selected vibration settings.


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