Why The Spying Bose Headphones Story Is Mostly BS

Have you seen that “Bose headphones are spying on you” story? It was reported by Reuters and quickly got viral.

The story talks about a lawsuit filed by an individual who had discovered that the Bose smartphone app collects the data on the music and podcasts played on the headphones. The claim is that Bose “programmed its Bose Connect app to automatically disclose and transmit its customers’ media information to third party companies, including a data miner called Segment.io.”

Now to the BS part.

The complaint claims that Segment.io is a sophisticate data mining and analysis company that can be used to “Collect all of your customer data and send it anywhere”.

The implication is that Segment.io is used to resell customers’ data to some nefarious buyers. This is obvious bullshit, because Segment.io is used only for internal analytics by the user (in this case, Bose). Segment’s business is not to sell data. Their business is to help their business users to analyze the data that they already have. The “send it anywhere” refers to other marketing tools used by a Segment’s customer. If you have any doubts about that, just spend a couple of minutes on their website.

Why would Bose use Segment.io?

Simply to improve their marketing. Market heavy bass headphones to customers who listen to electronic music, and probably high-end stuff for people who listen to classical. Regular market segmentation.

Is it ethical for Bose to collect customers’ data without their consent? Probably not. But they do warn the users in Terms & Conditions that data is collected and sent to third parties.

Who Else Uses Segment?

And now to the best part.

You know who else uses Segment.io? Reuters!

Yes, the same news agency that reported this clickbait. If only the journalist could have a chat with his marketing department, ask a few questions…