Bose Knows You’re an Ed Sheeran Fan, and It’s Allegedly Selling That Info

Bose Knows You’re an Ed Sheeran Fan, and It’s Allegedly Selling That Info
Bose/Facebook

We’ve covered class-action lawsuits involving vibrators and televisions spying on users, and now another company is accused of illegally collecting user information.

A class-action lawsuit filed in Illinois against Bose claims the audio company’s headphones have been collecting user information without permission.

The lawsuit says that plaintiff Kyle Zak registered his new headphones to the Bose Connect app, which allows you to wirelessly control the settings on paired devices and share music with other users.

The suit claims that Bose then began collecting specific information about Zak’s usage habits and shared the information with third parties without his consent. The lawsuit lists the collected data as names of audio files and music titles.

Who Cares if Someone Knows What Music I Like?

The lawsuit says that an individual’s audio selections “provide an incredible amount of insight into his or her personality, behavior, political views, and personal identity” and that collecting such information without someone’s consent violates their privacy.

The suit cites these examples: If a person is listening to the “Ashamed, Confused, And In the Closet” podcast, it could indicate that they are “a homosexual in need of a support system.” It’s “very likely” that someone listening to The Body’s HIV/AIDS podcast is living with the illness. And someone who listens to Muslim prayer services through Bose’s headphones or speakers is probably Muslim.

The examples show there’s so much more personal info at stake than just what songs people like.

The lawsuit accuses Bose of violating the Federal Wiretap Act, which prohibits the interception of communication; the state of Illinois’ eavesdropping statute, which protects individuals from third parties intercepting private electronic communication; and multiple other laws.

Headphones listed in the lawsuit included the QuietComfort 35, SoundSport Wireless, Sound Sport Pulse Wireless, QuietControl 30, SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II and SoundLink Color II.

The lawsuit doesn’t specify how much Zak is seeking, but it says that the “amount in controversy exceeds $5,000,000.” The suit also demands that Bose halt all data collection.

This lawsuit is still in its early stages, but we’ll update you about any developments.

Your Turn: Do you own any of the Bose headphones listed in the class-action lawsuit?

Kelly Smith is a junior writer and engagement specialist at The Penny Hoarder. Catch her on Twitter at @keywordkelly.