Audio giant Bose has been accused of spying on customers by using their ‘Bose Connect’ app to track the music and podcasts consumers are listening to and selling on their private data to third party companies.
Bose customer Kyle Zak filed a suit in Chicago on Tuesday to stop the company’s "wholesale disregard" for the privacy of customers who download its free app. The complaint states that Bose created detailed profiles of customers’ listening histories and habits. They then sent the information to a data mining company, which not only breaches the Wiretap Act, but also a number of other US state privacy laws.
"Indeed, one’s personal audio selections – including music, radio broadcast, Podcast, and lecture choices – provide an incredible amount of insight into his or her personality, behavior, political views, and personal identity," says the complaint.
“For example, a person that listens to Muslim prayer services through his headphones or speakers is very likely a 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. None of Defendant’s customers could have ever anticipated that these types of music and audio selections would be recorded and sent to, of all people, a third party data miner for analysis.”
"People should be uncomfortable with it," Zak’s lawyer Christopher Dore said. "People put headphones on their head because they think it's private, but they can be giving out information they don't want to share."
Dore said customers do not see the Bose app's user service and privacy agreements when signing up, and the privacy agreement says nothing about data collection.
The lawsuit estimates that the case is worth more than $5 million but doesn't specify damages.
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