When the lawyers representing Pandora Media filed the papers this morning with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that are necessary to seek an initial public offering (IPO), a dirty little secret got out. After digging through the nearly 150-page document, various technology reporters noticed that the popular streaming music service has been issued a subpoena by a federal grand jury. The subpoena concerns how the company has been sharing personal data through its smartphone application.
Pandora has reason to keep the subpoena secret. It doesn't make the company look very good to customers without the energy or desire to dig through the complete document. And executives believe that they are just one of many companies being investigated. "[W]e were informed that we are not a specific target of the investigation, and we believe that similar subpoenas were issued on an industry-wide basis to the publishers of numerous other smartphone applications," Pandora's filing states.
If that's the case, this could be the latest in a string of suits and subpoenas filed by lawmakers who have expressed serious concerns over online privacy issues. "This latest action follows reports of a December class action suit against Apple and a number of App Store developers over the sharing of personal information with advertisers," the Unofficial Apple Weblog noted. "Since grand jury proceedings are secret, it can't be determined if the two actions are related."