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Pandora Responds to Claims That Its Online Service Violates User Privacy

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Pandora Responds to Claims That Its Online Service Violates User Privacy

As discussed in an earlier post, security firm Veracode alleges that online streaming music service provider Pandora has been secretly sharing users’ information, including age, gender and location, with digital advertising firms.

In response to these accusations, the popular Internet radio service is removing third-party advertising platforms, including Google, AdMeld and Medialets. Despite insisting it has found zero evidence to support the charge that these companies acted beyond the confines of its ad policy, the company hopes to mollify fans by taking a proactive stance. New versions of its smartphone and mobile device apps lacking support for these services are planned for free download via the Android Market and the Apple App Store soon.

Pandora representatives contacted us to point out that Veracode recently retracted its claim that the music service was transmitting GPS data to advertisers, and Pandora has issued the following public statement in response to the accusations against the company:

“Recently, certain third-party advertising software development kits (SDKs) from Medialets, AdMeld and Google have been the subject of scrutiny and speculation in the media. While we have no reason to believe that any of these mobile advertising companies acted outside the scope of our privacy policy, we have decided to remove the advertising SDKs entirely to ensure that our listeners have complete confidence in our commitment to their privacy. The revised versions of the Pandora application with these SDKs removed will be available soon in Android Market and in the Apple App Store.

"Furthermore, Veracode, a third-party mobile security firm that recently highlighted the presence of these SDKs in our Android app, has publicly retracted their assertion that our app was transmitting GPS location data and has confirmed that their original report was in error. The Pandora app does not transmit GPS location data.

"We take privacy very seriously at Pandora. The trust that our listeners place in us at Pandora is something we value tremendously and we want to leave no room for doubt that we honor and respect their privacy.”

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