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Is Bose Collecting User Music Preferences through Their App?
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bose headphones

Summary: A Bose user claims the company is collecting data on the type of music he listens to without his consent, violating his privacy.

Bose has been hit with a lawsuit filed in Chicago claiming that the US-based producer of high-end speakers is collecting data from their users without them knowing or consenting to it. The lawsuit was filed last week by Kyle Zak.

  
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Zak is seeking a class-action status with a jury trial. Since Zak is the only plaintiff listed at this time, he is seeking other Bose users to join his suit and request damages if the court approves the status. The lawsuit does not specify the exact amount of damages Zak and his lawyer are seeking but it states “the amount in controversy exceeds $5,000,000.” This amount does not include judicial and litigation costs.

Bleeping Computer reports that in the complaint Zak argues that Bose uses its mobile application, Bose Connect, to collect user data. He alleges that this includes a list of audio files and audio streams that he has listened to, the files he plays a lot and which songs he skips. With this data, Zak believes Bose uses the information the user entered when registering the app such as name, email, and serial numbers of their Bose products.

Zak states that he filed the lawsuit against the app because it is not advertised as a media player app but instead as one that connects users with extra settings on their Bose products like an Auto-Off feature that saves battery life and noise cancellation settings. He does not think the app should not have access to a list of files the user plays.

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The Bose Connect app does not inform users that it will collect information on their music listening habits, something that Zak claims is a violation of privacy and wiretapping laws since they do not receive authorization to collect the data. The app is pushed by the maker of high-end speakers and headphones because it is something all companies do nowadays to connect with their customers. The lawsuit specifically calls out their products QuietComfort 35, Sound Sport Pulse Wireless, SoundSport Wireless, QuietControl 30, SoundLink Color II and SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II. This means the users of any of these products could join the lawsuit if it gets approved.

Perhaps the biggest hit is that the lawsuit claims Bose sends the data to a third party. They claim Bose is giving the data to Segment.io, LLC out of San Francisco, which specializes in data mining for advertising companies.



Zak appears to strongly object to the lawsuit, not because of advertising issues but because he sees the data as a way of learning about his personality. The suit states the data can be used to infer “an incredible amount of insight into his or her personality, behavior, political views, and personal identity. In fact, numerous scientific studies show that musical preferences reflect explicit characteristics such as age, personality, and values, and can likely even be used to identify people with autism spectrum conditions. And that’s just a small sampling of what can be learned from one’s music preferences. When it comes to other types of audio tracks, the personality, values, likes, dislikes, and preferences of the listener are more self-evident.”

Zak seeks an injunction to stop Bose from collecting any more data.

Do you think Zak is paranoid and looking for a way to get money? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about other companies that have gotten in trouble for using their consumer’s data, read these articles:

Photo: flickr.com



 

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