Bose snooping on its customers, suit alleges

Information collected by the Bose Connect app may have been sold to third parties without consent

Tags: BoseHeadphonesUnited Arab Emirates
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Bose snooping on its customers, suit alleges Bose may be the latest to be caught violating customer privacy by selling their data without permission.
By  David Ndichu Published  April 20, 2017

Bose has been tracking what buyers of its pricey wireless headphones may have been listening to, and then selling the data without permission, a lawsuit alleges.

According to a lawsuit in Chicago by customer Kyle Zak, Bose customers like himself who were using its Bose Connect app may have been inadvertently sharing their listening habits with Bose.

The complaint filed at Federal Court in Chicago, and first reported by Reuters, seeks an injunction for what it calls “wholesale disregard” for the privacy of customers who use its app and whose information is allegedly sold to third parties.

Bose recommends that customers “get the most out of their headphones” by downloading the app, wherein they provide their names, email addresses and their headphone’s serial number.

Audio choices offer an incredible amount of insight into customers’ personalities, behaviour, politics and religious views, the complaint reads, citing an example that a person who listens to Muslim prayers might very likely be a Muslim.     

Bose, if found culpable, is sadly not the first corporate culprit to be caught with their hands in the digital cookie jar that is customer private information. And it won’t be the last either.    

Vizio earlier this year agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle an FTC lawsuit alleging it collected customers’ TV-watching habits without their permission. The TV manufacturer had installed software into over 11 million smart TVs to capture “highly-specific, second-by-second information about television viewing.”

Two years ago, PC giant Lenovo was found to have pre-loaded software, called Superfish, which alters users’ search results to display different ads than one would typically see. Lenovo admitted the blunder and sought to help customers remove the software after it emerged Superfish was vulnerable to compromise by hackers.     

In the Bose suit, Zak is seeking millions of dollars in damages for buyers of various Bose headphones and speakers. He also wants a halt in the data collection, which he said violates privacy laws.

It’s not clear if Middle East customers were affected. ITP.net has reached out to Bose for comment but has not heard from the company by the time of going to press.  

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