Lawsuit accuses Bose of gathering data without consent

Bose Corporation is facing a lawsuit in which the company is accused of gathering listening data on users that it then sold to other firms that would target a Chicago-based user with advertisements. File Photo by Christian Bruna/EPA

April 21 (UPI) — A lawsuit accuses U.S. headphone maker Bose of gathering data about listening habits without permission for the company to sell to other firms that then target users with advertisements.

Illinois resident Kyle Zak filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Chicago’s U.S. District Court. Zak requested the court to grant an injunction preventing Bose from acquiring data about audio preferences. He also seeks $5 million in damages.

In the lawsuit, Zak said he bought a $350 set of Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones in March. Zak said he then downloaded Bose Connect, a free smartphone app released in 2016 that allows users to select and play audio files released.

The lawsuit alleges Bose, based in Framingham, Mass., gathered data through the application and then sold Zak’s data history to other companies that then analyzed his listening habits without permission.

The lawsuit accuses the company of breaching privacy, adding that it is possible to determine someone’s religion or sexual orientation by tracking listening data. Zak said he would never have purchased the headphones if he knew his data would be shared.

“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 lawsuit said.

Jay Edelson, founder and CEO of Edelson PC, a Chicago-based class-action law firm that filed the suit on behalf of Zak, said the company essentially eavesdropped on users.

“That has a lot of very significant privacy implications,” Edelson told the Chicago Tribune. “It can identify their social circles, their sexual identity, political groups … These are things that people like to keep private, and the allegation of our suit is that if Bose was going to be collecting that, they had to get consent.”


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