Are your Bose headphones spying on you?

A man in the US is worried that his listening habits are being passed on to third parties...

Headphone and speaker maker Bose has been accused of spying on its customers and sharing their listening habits with third parties.

A lawsuit worth over $5 million filed in Chicago this week makes the case that the Boston-based audio company has been violating not only the US WireTap Act but a number of state privacy laws, Fortune reports.

Lead plaintiff Kyle Zak claims that, having downloaded the Bose Connect app and given information such as his name, phone number and email in the process, a detailed profile of his listening history and habits was then shared with marketing companies.

One firm named in the case is San Francisco's Segment, which advertises itself online as providing a service where they can "collect all of your customer data and send it anywhere".

While the amount in damages he is seeking isn't specified, Mr Zak is looking to represent and defend other headphone owners over this alleged illegal data mining.

The complaint states:

"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 on to note that a person's audio history could contain everything from LGBT podcasts to Muslim call-to-prayer recordings.

Mr Zak's lawyers are seeking an injunctive relief to prevent Bose from collecting and distributing data.

Along with his QuietComfort 35 headphones, other Bose products cited by the complaint include the SoundSport Wireless, Sound Sport Pulse Wireless, QuietControl 30, SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, and SoundLink Color II.

Consumers can use these products without Bose Connect, though the app offers them a greater range of features – Bose itself recommends downloading it so you can "get the most out of your headphones".

In other recent US data privacy news, the House of Representatives approved legislation in March that will allow internet service providers to sell information about their customers to advertisers and other third parties. This includes their web browsing histories. 

The legislation had passed through the Republican-controlled Senate and was subsequently signed into law by US President Donald Trump.

Many representatives took to the floor to raise their objections. Californian congresswoman Anna Eshoo had argued: 

"They can use your information and sell it to the highest bidder. I think it’s a sad day if the bill passes."

news cards