Noise Cancelling Headphones May be Spying on You

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(TIML NEWS)  Consumers who’ve invested in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones from Bose, may be interested in learning that there is a possibility their choice in audio content and listening habits have possibly been made available to third party companies. According to a lawsuit recently filed in Chicago, an app the headphone company refers it’s customers to, works to spy on those who use the technology.

The lead plaintiff in the case, Kyle Zak, accuses Bose of illegal data mining, alleging that through it’s Bose Connect app, it builds profiles on listeners that it then shares with marketing companies. While Connect’s licensing agreement does make it transparent that the app may “collect, transmit and store” customer data to “servers operated by third parties on behalf of Bose,” it doesn’t specify that such records might be comprised of audio file data.

According to attorneys for the plaintiff, a case can be made that Bose was in violation of the federal Wire Tap Act. The charges are very serious, they contend, with the complaint listing such examples as LGBT podcasts and Muslim sermons to be among the kinds of content that can be shared, and ultimately, used to discriminate or target customers. “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,” the complaint reads.

Bose’s QuietComfort 35, SoundSport Wireless, Sound Sport Pulse Wireless, QuietControl 30, SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II and SoundLink Color II are all named in the suit, which doesn’t list the damages sought by the plaintiff, but does assert that the case is worth more than $5 million.

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