Pandora said today that it has been asked to provide documents for a federal grand jury probe into the sharing of personal information by mobile applications. The developer of the streaming music application is not the target of the probe, but one of many application developers reportedly sent a subpoena. This subpoena came to light in a securities filing from Pandora that was required for its upcoming IPO. No other app developers were named in the report but the list is thought to include applications published in both the Android Market and Apple’s App Store.
As smartphones proliferate and application usage become more widespread, increasing scrutiny has been placed on how applications use the sensitive data that can be found on user’s handsets. Many applications, including Pandora, track customer information such as age, gender, ZIP code and profile information and use these personal details to serve up targeted advertisements. Unlike Pandora which has stated what personal data they collect, many apps do not disclose how they use this sensitive information and many users are unaware of the amount of information each application can access.
The securities filing does not identify the location of the federal grand jury, but it is one of many investigation that will be launched to examine the growing concern over mobile privacy.
[Via Business Week]