Pandora is one of the many websites that either allow or require its users to sync their services to their website, but this poses a problem for those who are embarrassed about their guilty pleasures. One guy in Michigan even thinks it’s a violation of privacy, which is why he’s suing Pandora for letting his pals check out his music tastes.
The man’s name is Peter Deacon, and he’s claiming that Pandora’s integration with Facebook “resulted in the disclosure of ‘sensitive listening records’ to his friends.”
He also says that Pandora had a separate feature that allowed anyone to search for and access users’ profile pages by their email addresses. Profile pages include material like favorite groups and listening history.
Deacon argues that Pandora violated Michigan’s Video Rental Privacy Act, which prohibits companies that offer books, music or videos from disclosing customers’ identities without their consent. That law was enacted in Michigan more than 20 years ago, at around the same time that Congress passed the federal Video Privacy Protection Act. The Michigan law is broader than the federal statute, which only applies to movies.
Michigan’s statute provides for damages of $5,000 per violation; Deacon is seeking class-action status.
You know what other music program has this same feature? Spotify.
I don’t know if you can relate to Deacon’s woes, but let’s just say that your friends happen to spend a lot of time at their boring office jobs browsing through Spotify and sending you bad songs like Faith Hill’s “There You’ll Be” (from the Michael Bay-directed Pearl Harbor) or Jermaine Jackson’s “Daddy’s Home” because they think you’d share their affection for Diane Warren-penned ballads and smooth R&B jams with incestuous undertones, respectively. Or, perhaps (hypothetically, of course) you just want to reminisce about the mid-’90s when strong independent women were all over the pop and country charts, and the only way to do that is to listen to the entirety of Shania Twain’s catalogue in one afternoon (the cool kids call it “Twaining”).
Suddenly you’ve got friends GChatting you and saying, “Um, why are you listening to Dido right now?” And you’re like, “Huh, what? It’s not 2001, ha ha ha,” but you’re secretly panicking and thinking, “HOW DO THEY KNOW THIS?” Then you realize that all of your songs are going straight to Facebook and there are at least a few hundred people who are probably wondering why you’ve been listening to Sheryl Crow and the original cast recording from Rent so much.
If you’re looking to keep your Twaining under wraps, here’s the quickest way to keep Spotify from publishing your listening choices to Facebook.