New Lawsuit Alleges Bose Has Been Spying on Users With Their Headphones

The Bose Connect app might be for more than just adjusting noise cancellation settings.

Usually when we hear about companies collecting user data — anything from location to browsing history — it’s done by the companies whose business models are built around that data harvest. But, a new lawsuit doesn’t involve the likes of Google or Facebook — it’s Bose that’s been accused of gleaning and selling customer data, and if the accusations made in the lawsuit prove true, they’ve been doing it without permission.

Kyle Zak has filed the lawsuit in Chicago, accusing Bose of eavesdropping and consumer fraud. At this point, you might be wondering how Bose, which primarily makes speakers and headphones, could possibly be collecting this data. The lawsuit says it’s been done with the Bose Connect app, which is nominally there to allow owners of QuietComfort and SoundLink headphones to adjust their noise cancellation settings and share the music they’re playing with others. The lawsuit alleges that app has also been tracking what users have been listening to, whether it be streaming music or podcasts, and that Bose has been selling that data to third party marketing firms.

It’s not a new thing — this is how many, many tech companies make money. Where things diverge from the norm is that Bose also failed to show consumers terms of use or privacy settings while setting up the app, and that their privacy settings mention nothing about data collection. If that’s the case, the lawsuit — which is planned as a class action suit — could have legs.

The case is also surprising because while this kind of collection is expected from tech companies that provide free services — Facebook and Google — it’s not expected from companies that are simply selling hardware. But, it seems like Bose was seeking a little extra side revenue, and they might not have gone about it the right way.

Bose hasn’t yet issued a statement in response to the lawsuit. Should it become a class action case, the class would include owners of the following products: QuietComfort 35, QuietControl 30, SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, SoundLink Color II, SoundSport Wireless, and SoundSport Pulse Wireless.

Via Reuters