Lawsuit alleges Bose's headphone app exfiltrates your listening habits to creepy data-miners

Bose's $350 wireless headphones need an app to "get the most" out of them, and this app monitors everything you listen to -- the names of the podcasts, the music, videos, etc -- and sends them to Bose without your permission, according to a lawsuit filed this week in Chicago by Kyle Zak.

But the Illinois resident said he was surprised to learn that Bose sent "all available media information" from his smartphone to third parties such as Segment.io, whose website promises to collect customer data and "send it anywhere."

Audio choices offer "an incredible amount of insight" into customers' personalities, behavior, politics and religious views, citing as an example that a person who listens to Muslim prayers might "very likely" be a Muslim, the complaint said.

"Defendants' conduct demonstrates a wholesale disregard for consumer privacy rights," the complaint said.

Bose headphones spy on listeners: lawsuit [Jonathan Stempel/Reuters]

(Images: Bose; Didia, CC-BY-SA)

Notable Replies

  1. why would I want an app for headphones? seriously?

  2. because you no longer have a standard audiojack with an open standard. you are now obligated, if you wish to use headphones, to get ones wired into your device's proprietary port OR listen through wireless bluetooth. Bluetooth not good enough? don't like the delays? want your headphones do be able to do other things besides make sound? On earpiece pause or volume, or anything like that? You will probably need an app for that. One the company that made your headphones wrote.

    The app will almost certainly be just as poorly written as most custom 'scanning software' or printing software that comes bundled with whatever dead tree peripheral you use. And hooked up to your phone, where people can less easily control (or even KNOW) what sort of access it has to the data on there....

    yuck.

    So, the answer is: YOU don't want an app for your headphones. Most people won't realize they don't need one and will therefore be a marketers treasure trove.

  3. If there is anything that I truly hate about recent trends in hardware and software, it's the "because fuck you, that's why" mentality. Windows 10, disappearing headphone jacks, data mining, the Internet of Shit, cable boxes that suck, and cloud-connected crap that shouldn't need to be cloud-connected in the first place.

    I try to vote with my wallet, but sometimes the ballot is lacking choices.

  4. I found out my fav brand of TP was reporting what I ate the night before, imagine my surprise.

  5. Bonus: when your fork and TP vendors hook up, they'll be able to compute transit times! :slight_smile:

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