Why does a music streaming app need to know your gender and exact GPS location?
That's the kind of question many users are asking after Pandora was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury over why it collects so much data and what it does with all that information.
Pandora is one of many app makers involved in the federal investigation, but it's one of the best examples of a seemingly excessive amount of data collection.
Included data used for mobile advertisers, the Pandora app has access to the following information from Android users:
- Exact GPS location
- Home address zip code
- Unique phone ID
Keep in mind this is for an app whose sole purpose is to stream music. Much of that data is probably used for ad providers. Advertisers are generally willing to pay more if their messages can be strongly targeted and focused. In other words, Pandora can sweep in more money by sacrificing user privacy.
The Pandora app has been installed more than 10 million times from the Android Market.