Privacy concerns found in Pandora’s Android app

From ThreatPost:

That free service comes at a price, Veracode found. Researchers who took apart the application and studied its code found libraries for five different ad networks embedded in the Pandora application. Those libraries collected and trasmitted a variety of different data from the Android phone and its owner. The data included both the owner’s GPS location and tidbits the owners gender, birthday and postal code information. There was evidence that the app attempted to provide continuous location monitoring – which would tell advertisers not just where the user accessed the application from, but also allow them to track that user’s movement over time.

I tend to overreact when it comes to privacy concerns, but I think this represents a legitimate concern for everyone in the era of free mobile apps. While the developer might not give up personal data maliciously or even knowingly, advertisers who offer up software packages to developers for ad placement might be slightly more nefarious.  App developers should be cautious as to what info their apps are divulging, and consumers should realize that  “free” doesn’t always mean “free”.  You might be giving up a lot more personal info than you think.

Mashable: Last.fm to Start Charging International Users

“The Social Media Guide” points to a new Last.fm blog post that discusses their new charge for “International” users to access their streaming radio service.

In order to keep providing the best radio service on the web, we need to ask our listeners from countries other than USA, UK and Germany to subscribe for €3.00 per month. In return you’ll get unlimited access to Last.fm Radio, and a promise that we’ll be hard at work improving the service for years to come.

This isn’t a huge surprise considering the ridiculous royalties charged to Internet radio providers. As Mashable points out, Last.fm competitor Pandora simply cutoff International users. While I think that people generally overreact to a company charging for something it once gave away, I fear this is the nature of the beast when it comes to dealing with music copyright holders. The thing with Last.fm is that they offer so many other ways to discover music that are beyond simple streaming.