Bose says it will fight the 'inflammatory, misleading' accusations claiming it wiretaps its headphone users
Bose responded on Friday to a proposed class-action lawsuit filed earlier in the week that accused the headphone giant of secretly collecting and sharing what some of its headphone and speaker users listen to.
Bose said in a statement that it would fight the accusations, which it called "inflammatory" and "misleading.""Nothing is more important to us than your trust," the company wrote. "We work tirelessly to earn and keep it, and have for over 50 years. That's never changed, and it never will."
The accusations come from an Illinois man named Kyle Zak and Edelson PC, a Chicago-based law firm that focuses on cases involving consumer technology and privacy. They center on Bose's Connect app, an optional companion app that can tweak settings for various Bose headphones and Bluetooth speakers, including the often-recommended QuietComfort 35 noise-cancelling headphones.
Zak has accused Bose of using the Connect app to intercept the titles and listening info for every audio file that users listen to, then sharing that info with third parties without users' permission. Zak claims that this violates the federal Wiretap Act on the grounds that Bose could tie that listening metadata to a product's serial number and a user's personal information.
Bose's privacy policies are generally open about sharing "de-identified and aggregated information about [its] customers" with advertisers and other third parties, but the company is adamant that nothing it shares could be used to personally identify its users.
"In the Bose Connect App, we don't wiretap your communications, we don't sell your information, and we don't use anything we collect to identify you - or anyone else - by name," Bose wrote in the statement. "If there's anything else we think you should know, you'll hear it straight from us."
The complaint is seeking an unspecified amount in financial damages. According to Forbes, Bose - a privately held company - had annual revenues of $3.5 billion in 2015.