User lawsuit claims audio app logged his actions without permission.
Another day, another privacy allegation – at least that’s how it feels from the news headlines. This time, it’s audio device manufacturer Bose, who’s being sued for $5 million US over allegations that its app records users’ listening preferences and then sells that information to advertisers for targeting.
Kyle Zak claims that his information was used for this purpose after he purchased a pair of Bluetooth-enabled headphones. The point of the app is to make it easier to select music off your smartphone that you feel like listening to. It’d be akin to an app that gets your food out of your refrigerator for you; thefood is yours, but the app would be sneaking around behind your back to inform advertisers which type of your own food you’re consuming at any given time.
That might seem like a pretty odd claim, or at least one that will be easily thrown out after someone takes a magnifying glass to the terms and conditions on the app. But this case is being handled by a legal firm that specifically handles data privacy issues, and the firm felt obviously felt there was sufficient reason to move forward with proceedings. The firm is also working this into a class action suit, basically acknowledging that any customer who purchased Bose products and download the Bose Connect app is included.
This goes well beyond someone spying on your musical tastes, which truth be told, can be deciphered by standing too close to you if you’re wearing typical (re:non-Bose) headphones. The plaintiffs pointed out that using this app and headphone combination to listen to podcasts, for example, can potentially leak a lot of personal information about you to third parties, such as your religious or political views or even your sexual orientation. Further, the lawsuit specifically names some of the third parties that the information is sold to, including data mining company Segment.io.
Bose has alternated between refusing to comment on the issue to some news outlets, and vehemently denying the allegations to others.