Free smartphone apps may be collecting more personal information than users realize and sharing them with third-party advertising firms, according to an analysisPandora Charms Australia   by a security firm! The report followed recent news articles that Pandora and other mobile app vendors had received federal grand jury subpoenas about their data sharing practices!

Federal prosecutors in New Jersey were investigating whether Pandora Charms mobile application vendors are illegally retaining and sharing customers' personal information, the Wall Street Journal reported on April 5! The Journal further tested 101 apps and found that 56 transmitted the phone's unique device identifier to other companies without the user's knowledge; 47 transmitted the phone's location; and five provided the user's age, gender and other personal details! Privacy policies were not included on 45 of the tested apps, according to the Journal!

Pandora, the free music service, revealed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on April 4 that it had been subpoenaed by the federal grand jury to provide documents related to how the company collected and shared user Pandora Charms sale information on its iPhone and Android apps! Pandora was not a "specific target of the investigation," the company said in the filing, and that subpoenas were issued "on an industry-wide basis" to other mobile app makers!
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