It’s a shame that mobile hasn’t learned from the web’s mistakes. Equally, it’s a shame when prolonged struggles on the web spill out into mobile. So becomes the case when mobile app developers received subpoenas for the mobile apps they run on iOS and Android platforms.
Internet radio provider Pandora is the first to go public with its subpoena. It did so as part of its S-1 filing to announce its bid for an IPO. Word is other developers also received subpoenas in a government probe to review privacy practices in apps. It’s unclear what exactly the government wants, but a post on GigaOm outlines some of Pandora’s issues.
Similar to the web, mobile app developers collect voluntary data from users for several reasons. In the case of Pandora, data are used to create a user profile of music and make further recommendations. The company also likely uses data such as a user’s sex, age and location to sell ads. This, folks, is how the web works. However it treads the line between companies trying to earn a living and big brother watching you from behind the mirrored glass. For the most part, it’s the former and any data that’s shared is anonymous, yet vast swaths of users don’t quite get that.
Companies need to be held in check, no argument there. But much of this is done voluntarily through groups like the Internet Advertising Bureau, Mobile Marketing Association, American Advertising Association and other organizations.