Sometimes you may listen to 90s boy bands when nobody's around, but you probably don't go around advertising that dirty little secret to others. But, if you own a pair of pricey Bose wireless headphones, your secret may be out.
A class-action lawsuit filed in Chicago on Tuesday claims that the company secretly collects and records all the music and audio files (including radio broadcasts, podcasts, and lectures) its customers play through their Bose wireless headphones. Moreover, the suit claims that Bose shares this data, along with other personal identifiers, with third-parties without its customers' knowledge or consent.
The suit argues that this action not only "demonstrates a wholesale disregard for consumer privacy rights" but also "violates numerous state and federal laws."
"One's personal audio selections … provide an incredible amount of insight into his or her personality, behavior, political views, and personal identity," the suit claims. "For example, a person that listens to Muslim prayer services … is very likely 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 says the company collects this data via the Bose Connect app, which lets people control the music playing through their Bose headphones and speakers from a smartphone. The app works with Bose QuietComfort 35, SoundSport Wireless, Sound Sport Pulse Wireless, QuietControl 30, SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, and SoundLink Color II devices.
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According to the complaint, Bose continuously records all the content that users send to their wireless headphones from their smartphones, like the names of the music and audio tracks, then automatically shares this information with third parties, including a data mining and analysis company called Segment
The suit claims that Bose "never obtained consent from any of its customers before monitoring, collecting, and transmitting their media information." Moreover, the company allegedly "concealed its actual data collection policies from its customers."
Bose did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment.
The complaint doesn't specify damages, but says the "amount in the controversy exceeds" $5 million.
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