Bose Knows, Have Your Headphones Been Spying on You?

A new lawsuit has been filed, claiming that Bose wireless headphones have been spying on users.

By now we’ve all heard of the various stories of smart TV’s tracking users habits. People are finally starting to look at connected devices as products which may (will) track our information and send it somewhere we may not want. I’ve heard many of my non-techy friends speak of worrying about smart TV’s, digital home assistants, and the like spying on them. One thing I’ve never heard them speak of is headphones. Honestly, I’ve never considered that either. It’s time to start.

A lawsuit requesting call action status has been filed against Bose. The plaintif, Kyle Zak, discovered that his new Bose wireless headphones, with the use of their companion app, was keeping track of Zak’s habits.

According to the lawsuit, the Bose Connect companion app “continuously record the contents of the electronic communications that users send to their Bose Wireless Products from their smartphones, including the names of the music and audio tracks they select to play along with the corresponding artist and album information, together with the Bose Wireless Product’s serial numbers.” This information, gives Bose a very identifiable set of information on users.

But it doesn’t stop there. The lawsuit also claims that Bose is sharing this information with another company, Segment. On Segment’s home page they promise to “Capture data from every customer touch point” and to “send your customer data to the tools where it can be used most effectively.” In other words, Segment is a data mining company. And Bose is sharing user information with them.

The suit claims that none of these activities are covered under Bose’s privacy policy. Really though, what is privacy any more? As we are seeing with product after product, our purchase is no longer enough. Once we’ve bought a product, the maker wants more from us. They want our information. And that information is far more valuable than whatever product we have purchased.

Consider this. According to this suit, Bose is collecting our listening habits. This could be our music or podcast preferences, what radio stations we prefer, and what political slant our favorite news stations take. How much more information is on our mobile phone? I don’t know about you, but my entire life is on my phone. From who my friends and co-workers are, as well as how to get in contact with them. My entire schedule, and for most users, their entire location history. And let’s not forget photos. My phone is now my primary camera, and now that my favorite camera is in hand at all times, I take many times more photos than I did before. All of this information, plus more, how valuable would that be? And to who?

The time that we could simply sit back and trust these companies to keep our information safe has passed. When we can’t even trust our headphones to not be tracking us, it’s time that we become more vigilant in our own protection. When it comes to phones, for me, the method for doing this is quite simple. It’s to use a BlackBerry Android phone. With a BlackBerry Android, I’m not only trusting BlackBerry will keep me safe, but I am also able to track what is actually taking place on my phone thanks to the DTEK app. There is no better tool out there. And I feel safe that I have been given the proper tools to make sure that when it comes to my privacy, I’m the one making the decision of what to divulge.

As for other products? Like headphones perhaps? It’s time we start really looking into what our devices are connecting to, and how our privacy can be exploited through these connections.



Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs. Former BlackBerry Elite. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.