Bose’s proprietary Bluetooth system may have been collecting more data than it let on. A proposed class action lawsuit filed this morning alleges that Bose’s Connect app was collecting and sharing information on users’ listening habits, as first reported by Fortune.
Bose’s Connect app is meant to improve pairing between music sources and Bose speakers and headphones — and because it sits between the player and the speaker, the app has easy access to basic data on every song being streamed. According to the plaintiffs, Connect collected the titles of streamed songs and podcasts without consent or notification, and shared that information with an analytics and targeting firm called Segment.io. Combined with registration info, the data could be extremely lucrative for ad targeting purposes.
"This case shows the new world we are all living in,” Jay Edelson, founder of the firm that brought the suit, said in a statement. “Consumers went to buy headphones and were transformed into profit centers for data miners."
The Connect app isn’t required to use the company’s speakers and headphones, but it offers features like simplified switching between paired devices that would be impossible through traditional Bluetooth pairing. Proprietary Bluetooth systems are increasingly common in consumer devices, including the the W1 system introduced by Apple with the iPhone 7.
If approved, the class action would apply to all customers who have had their data collected by Bose Connect. However, the complaint does not provide any definitive evidence that Bose shared data with Segment.io, and the relationship between the companies remains unclear. Bose did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Zak v. Bose by Russell Brandom on Scribd