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Audio products manufacturer Bose has recently been accused of listening in on users with its new QuietComfort 35 headphones via its Connect smartphone app.
According to a new lawsuit filed in the US, the Boston-based company has violated the US’s Federal WireTap Act and a number of other privacy laws by collecting data on users’ music playlist, podcasts and other audio choices, which together “provide an incredible amount of insight into his or her personality, behavior, political views, and personal identity”. This data collection happens once the user has paired their headphones with the Bose Connect app, which is offered to customers as an option to manage the connected audio device and view settings, like adjusting noise-cancellation.
The claim says that every time a smartphone is opened after a Bose device has been paired with it, data is collected and stored, which can then be sold for use in market research by companies like Segment.io. The claim also states that Bose did not inform Kyle Zak, the claimant, that it would be collecting and sharing the data. Zak's lawyer mentioned that “People should be uncomfortable with it. 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.”
If Bose is held guilty, it would mean millions of dollars in damages from the audio giant for its customers, but the company has not yet responded to the accusation or made an official statement.