A lawsuit was filed against Bose Corp. [corporate website] Tuesday claiming that the sound system manufacturer was illegally mining and distributing [complaint, text] headphone users’ personal data. The complaint alleges that Bose secretly collected, transmitted, and disclosed its customers’ private music and audio selections to third parties and demands restitution in excess of $5,000,000. The suit centers around the app “Bose Connect” through which users of Bose headphones may pair their devices to a smartphone and access and control the headphones’ settings and features. According to the complaint, Bose designed Bose Connect collect and record the titles of the music and audio files chosen to play through Bose wireless products and transmit that data along with other personal identifiers, required to sign up for Bose Connect, to third-parties without users’ knowledge or consent. The complaint alleges that Bose violated the Federal Wire Tap Act [text] as well as several state anti-intrusion statutes.
The increased “Internet of Things” has led to new and unique challenges to consumers who wish to maintain data privacy and the international controversy has led to involvement by many civil rights groups. Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump signed a bill officially repealing internet privacy regulations [JURIST report] set by the Federal Communications Commission during the end of former president Barrack Obama’s term. Last month, Facebook settled a class-action lawsuit levied against it for its prior practice of scanning private messages [JURIST report] to aid in ads. Also in March, a judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California rejected the settlement of a class action lawsuit where non-Gmail email users contended that Google illegally scanned their e-mail correspondence [JURIST report] with Gmail users for targeted advertising purposes. In February, the Federal Trade Commission announced a $2.2 million settlement with VIZIO over the alleged collection of viewer data without consent [JURIST report]. In January, Liberty, a UK-based advocacy group, announced that it had met its crowding funding goal to launch a legal challenge against recently passed surveillance legislation that allows the government to record the internet history [JURIST report] of every UK citizen for up to a year.