Feeds

Would you sue to keep your guilty ABBA habit a secret?

Pandora let world see our bathroom singalongs, say users

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Music services that divulge your guiltiest music pleasures to the world may be breaking US state law. Michigan’s Video Rental Privacy Act has been cited in a new class action lawsuit against Pandora, claiming $5,000 damages per person. The lawsuit says that by making playlists and histories public and searchable by Google, privacy was violated.

The lawsuit claims that Pandora promised that playlists and other information would only be available to other users who knew a particular user’s email address, but then went back on this assurance. It also says integration with Facebook in April last year, which displayed the data to users' ‘friends’, was also a fundamental privacy breach.

It couldn’t be more topical.

Last week Spotify made its users' private listening data public, at the same time as making Facebook membership mandatory for new signups. The Pandora suit was filed on 20 September, a week before the great Facebook music launch. And while class actions lawsuits are more common than tornadoes in Kansas, this one might have legs.

While there’s much about music that’s social, there’s much that isn’t. The mandatory publication of private experiences is going to upset two groups of people. There’s the social media enthusiasts, for one. What we display on social networks is an artifice – there’s nothing genuine or authentic about it. But this painstakingly elaborated “public face” can be undone when private info we would rather not disclose slips out. What could be more distressing to a prog rock bore than having his cheesy disco playlists published?

And then there’s the rest of us, who don't care much for this real-time monitoring in the first place. This weird obsession with watching what everyone else is the theme of James Harkin’s Cyburbia – a crap name for a good book – which describes how it leads to a very small world, in which conformism and timidity are the norm.

You can read the lawsuit here [PDF]. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.