The personal radio service Pandora is reportedly facing a class action lawsuit in the US, after several users complained that it was breaching privacy laws.
According to the lawsuit, Pandora is breaching a federal law passed in 1988 which bans companies from giving out or disclosing details of book, sound recording or video purchases or rentals made by customers. Pandora is accused of breaking the law through its public user profiles, which publish the listening history of the user for all to see.
This case raises similar issues to those used in the recent debate over Facebook’s new media service, which has prompted privacy campaigners to question the company how it plans to use information about users listening and reading habits.
The plaintiffs in the Pandora lawsuit are demanding $5,000 in damages for Michigan-based subscribers to Pandora, and a further $5,000 if the users’ accounts are linked with Facebook. If Pandora loses its case, it will not only have to rely on its professional indemnity insurance to meet the plaintiffs’ demands. The case may, in fact, prompt a wave of lawsuits targeted at other music services.