Lawsuit Alleges Bose Headphones Spy on Users

/ 6 years ago

Lawsuit Alleges Bose Headphones Spy on Users

According to a lawsuit – proposed as a class-action – filed in Illinois last week, high-end audio equipment manufacturer Bose is spying on its customers and selling data regarding their listening habits without permission. The plaintiff, Kyle Zak, reports that he discovered his $350 wireless Bose headphones were, though the connected Bose Connect app, sending information regarding the music and audio that he was listening to, tagged with the product’s serial number which, after being registered with the company, was associated with his name and contact information (personally identifiable information).

The filing (via The Washington Post) reads:

“Defendant programmed its Bose Connect app to continuously record the contents of the electronic communications that users send to their Bose Wireless Products from their smartphones, including the names of the music and audio tracks they select to play along with the corresponding artist and album information, together with the Bose Wireless Product’s serial numbers (collectively, “Media Information”).”

Bose issued the following statement after the lawsuit was filed on 20th April, denying the allegations and vowing to fight them in court:

“We understand the nature of Class Action lawsuits. And we’ll fight the inflammatory, misleading allegations made against us through the legal system.

For now, we want to talk directly to you.

Nothing is more important to us than your trust. We work tirelessly to earn and keep it, and have for over 50 years. That’s never changed, and never will. 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.

If there’s anything else we think you should know, you’ll hear it straight from us.”

Yesterday (23rd April), Bose issued a follow-up statement, claiming that the company’s privacy policy was also being misrepresented in the media:

“We told you you’d hear things straight from us. We’ve answered your questions when they’ve come in, but when news stories repeat misleading information from a class action lawsuit, we have to repeat our response to clarify. So we’re going to share with everyone what we’ve shared with those of you who’ve contacted us directly, and what we’ve shared more broadly to correct the record.

First, our privacy policy can be found on the Connect App. You’ll find that the Connect App collects standard things to make your experience, and our products, better — like device information, app performance, and app and product usage. That includes information about songs playing on the device, volume played, and other usage data.

But you have to be using the Connect App with your Bose product for that to happen. You can use every Bose Bluetooth product without the Connect App.

For as long as we’re hearing from you, you’ll keep hearing from us. And we’ll keep posting additional information that you haven’t asked us about, too.”

Bose products that use the Bose Connect app are listed as:

  • QuietComfort 35
  • SoundSport Wireless
  • Sound Sport Pulse Wireless
  • QuietControl 30
  • SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II
  • SoundLink Color II

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