Federal prosecutors investigating Pandora, other smartphone apps over privacy concerns

Apps collecting users' information without their knowledge may not be anything new, but it's not everyday we see things rise to the level of Federal Grand Jury investigation. That happened today, however, with Federal prosecutors in New Jersey launching a probe to determine whether smartphone apps have been collecting personal information like an individual's location without being suitably up front about it. So far only Pandora and one independent developer have come forward and said they've received subpoenas, but Pandora says it believes the probe is an industry-wide one, and that it is "not a specific target of the investigation." As the Wall Street Journal notes, the investigation is also still only in the early stages and may well not result in any actual charges, but it seems to be extending beyond just the app makers themselves. A "person familiar with the matter" has told the Wall Street Journal that both Apple and Google have been asked to provide information on the apps and app makers in question, although neither is commenting on the matter publicly at the moment.