Are you headphones spying on you?
What would you do if your headphones were spying on you? If hundreds or thousands of people were privy to any media you listened to?
A new lawsuit against Bose Headphones was announced, claiming that the audio equipment was collecting personal information from its users without permission. Kyle Zak, the proprietor of this case, did everything correctly. “He registered the headphones, giving the company his name and email address, as well as the headphone serial number,” according to the Washington Post. He even downloaded the Bose Connect app, which added a variety of customizable features and manual options instead of wireless.
Zak decided to look at the code that the app was built on and recorded all of the data that his pair of headphones used. The names of the music tracks, audio files, artist names, and album information were recorded, all identifiable with his custom Bose serial number. All of this information is easily accessible by Bose through the app.
On the surface, this doesn’t sound too bad. Who cares if people can see what music you’re listening to? But user media data has the potential to be highly personal depending on the listener. “Listening to podcasts or other audio files [could] shade in information about political preferences, health conditions, behaviorisms, mental states, and other varied interests”.
The case alleges that Bose is sending out user data information to a third party as well as violating the Federal Wiretap Act.
This case isn’t the first of its kind. Ever since the birth of smart tech and AI’s, people have been concerned with the implications of their dynamic learning nature. The new Echo from Amazon can hear everything you say, the NSA is spying on your phone calls, your webcam is always recording, etc.
The Bose headphones case may not be the pinnacle of this issue, but it is the cornerstone. Our technology is getting increasingly smarter. Are we?