Headphone giant, Bose, is being sued by an Illinois man for allegedly collecting and sharing valuable listening data in secret. The man who goes by the name, Kyle Zak, chose to file his complaint in Federal Court on Tuesday in Chicago.
We understand Zak purchased the QuietComfort 35 wireless Bluetooth headphones back in March for the cool price of $350. These headphones use a rather interesting app known as Bose Connect to perform certain tasks.
Bose’s Connect app is at the center of the lawsuit. For those who are not regular users of the company’s headphones, Bose designed the Connect app to pause, skip, and perform other necessary controls for the user. Bose isn’t the first to do this and certainly won’t be the last.
Now, Mr. Zak believes the Connect app has gone beyond the company’s primary ambitions. Apparently, the app is collecting music listening data and sending them back to Bose. Data, such as, the name of songs and audio tracks have been collected, according to Zak.
Interestingly enough, the lawsuit claims Bose sends user data to third-party companies, such as, data miner Segment.io. Lawyers believe this amounts to wiretapping. Furthermore, they alleged that this type of information gathering could reveal a lot of personal information to Bose and third party partners.
“People put headphones on their head because they think it’s private, but they can be giving out information they don’t want to share,” Christopher Dore, a lawyer representing Mr. Zak, told the Reuters news agency.
Mr. Dore works for the law firm, Edelson PC, which concentrates on cases that has much to do with data privacy.
It should be noted; the QuietComfort 35 isn’t the only brand of Bose headphones to allegedly collect user data and sends them to third parties. According to the suit, other devices like the SoundSport Wireless, Sound Sport Pulse Wireless, QuietControl 30, SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, and SoundLink Color II, are part of the problem.
What’s the next move?
Zak and his lawyers have no choice but to prove to the court that the interception of audio from the headphone is similar to wiretapping. However, we see a way out for Bose, one that could frustrate lawyers in support of Zak.
The company and its own set of lawyers could argue that sending out metadata is not the same as wiretapping. Metadata is the author’s name, and title of the song, which is different from electronic, oral, or wire communication.