Sounding off on the price of privacy

Bose Corp is famous for their claims of crystal clear sound that emits from the many audio products they have sold to consumers since 1964. The Framingham, Massachusetts-based company boasts that their listening experience is second to none.

What their customers are just finding out is that Bose may be doing their own form of “listening” to gain an equal level of clarity on consumer habits. And for a price.

A lawsuit refers to it as spying.

In a complaint filed on Tuesday in a Chicago federal court, Kyle Zak is seeking an injunction to stop what he considers the “wholesale disregard” for the privacy rights of Bose customers.

Zak cites one of the “hidden features” on Bose’s line of wireless headphones called Bose Connect. The app created to "get the most out of your headphones" can be downloaded through Apple Inc or GooglePlay to a smartphone. Once installed, users provide their names, email addresses and headphone serial numbers.

Collecting and analyzing their customers preferences in music, podcasts and other audio seems may seem like sound business practices. However, privacy concerns arise when that readily available media information is sold to third parties.

Bose is not the only company to face these types of accusations. In fact, it has become an all too common trend for businesses seeking to boost profits. Quietly, they amass vast amounts of customer information and sell to the highest bidder.

Bose has enjoyed annual sales of $3.5 billion, yet seem to be willing to pad their revenues at the expense of their customers’ privacy. Those profits are at stake as Zak’s lawsuit seeks millions of dollars in damages on behalf of buyers of Bose headphones and speakers.

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