Taking advantage of the end-of-week firestorm unleashed by Google’s “Say Something. Sponsor Something.” initiative, Columbia Records and streaming music provider Pandora issued a joint press release Friday announcing “a very special New York City engagement…an intimate evening with the…musical icon [sic],” Celine Dion.
What could make an evening with Celine Dion come within a thousand miles of “very special”? The “big data” derivation of a very special guest list, that’s what.
Again, from the press release: “The performance will be brought to passionate fans that have added a Celine Dion station on Pandora, are located in the New York Tri-State Area and are age 21 and over. The special event will be free of charge and will take place on October 29 at the Edison Ballroom.”
Within hours, hackers from Estonia infiltrated Pandora’s email database and extracted the list of Dion’s New York-area fans. Their proper names, addresses and ages were reportedly sent to The New York Times, The New York Post and, for good measure, the NSA.
The Times refused to run a story on the Pandora privacy breach. “We find it nearly impossible to believe that there could be this many Celine Dion fans in the local metropolitan area,” said a Times spokesperson.
The Post, meanwhile, ran the story with a front-page headline blaring “A Sinking Feeling For Local Celine Dion Listeners.”
Many Pandora members were incensed at learning their private listening behavior was anything but private. “What the heck?” asked I.M. Awuss of Totowa, New Jersey. “It’s not like I drive around with Celine Dion bumper stickers, ya know?”
Another Dion follower, Sari Samm, from Danbury, Connecticut, stated “Now everyone at my dam* job will know that I’ve only been pretending to like Lady Gaga.”
Nevah Goe-Outt, of Flushing, New York, claimed that her Facebook page had already received several bullying comments. “I am like really needing to hear ‘All By Myself’ like right about now. Like.”
Asked for his thoughts on what people should expect when it comes to online radio privacy, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg chuckled and said, “The irony is if these concert-goers had any idea how many street-level surveillance cameras we have in and around the Edison.