Pandora is the Latest Service Sued for Privacy Violations

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 The class action complaint asks for damages of $5,000 per user, according to

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.


One Response to Pandora is the Latest Service Sued for Privacy Violations

  1. Pandora said in April that the company had no control over the actions of third parties that have access to listener data collected by the music recommendation service. However, it was not these third parties that were responsible for the major redesign in September 2011 when this lawsuit was filed. Michigan’s 1988 state law is similar to a federal law that Netflix is trying to change, but lawsuits like these demonstrate the need consumers have for controlling private information and data. If nothing else, Pandora’s security issues should demonstrate the need to make the previously voluntary “Do Not Track” function mandatory for all online businesses.

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