Feeds

Pandora subpoenaed over privacy of iPhone, Android apps

Part of industry-wide dragnet

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

A federal grand jury has subpoenaed online radio service Pandora for documents related to the privacy of smartphone apps it offers for Apple's iPhone and Google's Android operating system.

The document demand, which was made earlier this year, was part of a larger set of subpoenas issued on an industry-wide basis to publishers of smartphone apps, Pandora said in a filing issued Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The California-based company doesn't believe it's the target of the investigation, the filing said.

The revelation came as The New York Times reported that federal prosecutors in New Jersey are investigating whether smartphone apps have been illegally collecting information about handset users without proper disclosures. The probe, according to an unnamed person familiar with the matter, is examining whether app makers provided adequate legal notice before tracking information such as the user's geographic whereabouts and the unique identifier of their phone.

The investigation is the latest sign of unease about the wealth of personal details being swept up by online services eager to deliver advertisements targeted to specific users. In early December, the Federal Trade Commission recommended consumers be given a “do not track” option that prevents websites and advertisers from compiling data about their web-browsing habits. A few weeks later, Apple was slapped with a lawsuit alleging that it allowed iOS applications to provide advertisers with sensitive user information that's supposed to remain private.

A large number of applications that run on Apple's iOS collect serial numbers that uniquely identify the hardware device, according to a study issued in October that warned that the practice could compromise users' privacy. More recently, tens of thousands of users of smartphones running Android downloaded apps from Google's apps Market that secretly commandeered their handsets.

Both Apple and Google have defended the privacy protections offered by the iOS and Android. If reports about the grand jury investigation are correct, the world may soon have a large body of evidence proving or debunking these claims. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.