The audio maker Bose, whose wireless headphones sell for up to $350, uses an app to collect the listening habits of its customers and provide that information to third parties—all without the knowledge and permission of the users, according to a lawsuit filed in Chicago on Tuesday [fortune.com].
The complaint [scribd.com]accuses Boston-based Bose of violating the WireTap Act and a variety of state privacy laws, adding that a person's audio history can include a window into a person's life and views.
"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, noting a person's audio history may contain files like LGBT podcasts or Muslim call-to-prayer recordings.
The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit is a man named Kyle Zak, who claims he followed the company's suggestion to "get the most out of your headphones" by downloading the Bose Connect app, and supplying information such as his name, phone number and email address.
Zak is seeking to represent other headphone owners over allegations of illegal data mining. According to the complaint, Bose created detailed profiles of customers' listening histories and habits, and shared it with marketing companies, including a San Francisco firm called Segment whose website offers to "collect all or your customer customer data and send it anywhere."