Your Bose headphones may be spying on you

2 min read


As everything becomes interconnected, fears have compounded that the technology that’s making our lives easier is also spying on us. We’re worried that our TVs, webcams and cell phones could be collating private data to send off to corporations for their nefarious uses. George Orwell would be horrified.

What you wouldn’t expect to be used to analyse your consumer habits is a set of high end headphones – but apparently that’s exactly what renowned audio maker Bose has had its cans doing. That’s the claim made by a new class action lawsuit by Kyle Zak against the company.

The suit alleges that the company’s Bose Connect app – the mobile application that pairs Bose’s headphones and wireless speakers with phones – has been collecting info on user listening habits and sending them off to third parties. That includes a data mining company, all without user consent.

The suit claims that Bose has violated the Wiretap Act, the Illinois Eavesdropping Statute, and other laws pertaining to invasion of privacy. What data could companies possibly glean from listening habits? Says the suit:

“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.”

It goes even further, saying:

“For example, a person that listens to Muslim prayer services through his headphones or speakers is very likely a Muslim, a person that listens to the Ashamed, Confused, And In the Closet Podcast is very likely a homosexual in need of a support system, and a person that listens to The Body’s HIV/AIDS Podcast is very likely an individual that has been diagnosed and is living with HIV or AIDS.”

Zak says that Bose “intentionally concealed the Bose Wireless Products’ collection, transmission, and disclosure practices because it knew that consumers would not otherwise purchase their products.”

Affected products include the QuietComfort 35 headphones, SoundSport Wireless, Sound Sport Pulse Wireless, QuietControl 30, SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, and SoundLink Color II.

The unfortunately reality is that just about everything that connects to the internet is collecting data about you in some way, usually so that you can be better marketed to.

You can read the full complaint here.

Last Updated: April 20, 2017

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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