Pandora Subpoenaed Over Smartphone Data Privacy

The popular music streaming company Pandora said on Monday that it has been subpoenaed after claims that smartphone applications are illegally sharing user information with advertisers and other third-parties.

Pandora said they were not the specific target, though, and that other subpoenas are thought to have been issued.

Smartphone apps have been known to transfer user data, including location, age, and gender to some advertisers without the users’ explicit consent. The Wall Street Journal reported in December that Pandora and other apps had been releasing information about users and the phones they use.

According to the Associated Press, the Commerce Department has proposed the creation of an Internet “privacy bill of rights,” which would set rules and guidelines for companies like Pandora that gather, and often distribute, user information.

Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission has called for a “Do Not Track” option that would allow users to cut off advertisers’ access to their information. Unfortunately, since services like Pandora are sometimes free and run on ad revenue (users can pay to upgrade, but the initial app is free to use for 40 hours throughout one month), the company said instituting a “Do Not Track” option would significantly hinder their ability to collect and use data relating to listeners…which could potentially affect how much money they could make off of advertising. A tricky situation for sure!

Tags: ,
Categories: Web Sites

Actions: E-mail | Twitter | Facebook | Comment RSSRSS comment feed