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Pandora is the Latest Service Sued for Privacy Violations

June 2, 2012
Colson Hicks Eidson

The class action lawsuit filed against Pandora is the latest in a string of invasion of privacy allegations stemming from Internet-based services. Pandora is the music streaming service popular on work computers across the country. Users can customize playlists and create their own radio stations based on their preferences.

However, a man in Michigan says Pandora breaches users’ privacy by making their profile pages and listener history searchable online. The class action suit says it is a violation of Michigan’s Video Rental Privacy Act and Consumer Protection Act, according to a report at hollywoodreporter.com. The class action complaint asks for damages of $5,000 per user, according to hollywoodreporter.com.

The lawsuit alleges further violations by Pandora for combining users’ listening history with their Facebook accounts. The allegations could go even deeper. A Wall Street Journal investigation found that the Pandora smartphone app sends users’ age, gender and location to ad networks. Users cannot turn off the app’s identifying feature, according to the investigation.

Some users say it is the price to pay for convenience and technology. Many popular online services remain free for users by giving user information to ad networks.