What does Spotify’s new privacy policy mean?Spotify

What does Spotify’s new privacy policy mean?

Spotify unveiled plans to unroll a vague yet alarm-inducing privacy policy last week. The policy will implement a new set of permissions that the service will have for accounts of all global users. These permissions, the announcement stated, allow Spotify to collect stored information on mobile devices such as contacts, photos, and media files; track mobile devices with their GPS function, and store sensor data which records whether a device’s user is running, walking, or in transit; and will reduce barriers for Spotify to access third-party applications like Facebook. These invasive-sounding changes elicited understandable outrage from some of the streaming service’s 75 million users worldwide. CEO Daniel Ek issued a clarifying statement titled ’Sorry’ on Spotify’s blog on August 21st attempting to set users’ fears at rest and explain the ambiguous policy. Addressing the widespread concern that Spotify was adopting a Big Brother-type privacy policy model, Ek wrote:

“In our new privacy policy, we indicated that we may ask your permission to access new types of information, including photos, mobile device location, voice controls, and your contacts. Let me be crystal clear here: If you don’t want to share this kind of information, you don’t have to. We will ask for your express permission before accessing any of this data – and we will only use it for specific purposes that will allow you to customize your Spotify experience.”

More frequent updates to mobile devices applications’ privacy policies have been prompting users to actually read the fine print before accepting, due to the breadth and depth of information that may be collected if users don’t opt out. Though these policies often seem prying, the apps usually have already had access to most of the data that they outline, and there is almost always an opt-out option. Spotify was remiss to omit that this new privacy policy wouldn’t affect those that opted out, but the company is far from the first to draft such a policy. Most of the service’s competitors collect the same kind of data to customize users’ experience and generate necessary revenue to operate.

Pandora reserves the right to identify users’ GPS location, and “add or modify calendar events and send emails to guests without owners’ knowledge.” Beats Music (under Apple Music) can store media files like Spotify plans to, and “collect your location-based information for the purpose of developing, delivering, and improving our Service for you.” Tidal takes down an even more comprehensive log of user location-based data — “when you use the Service, we store information generated by your use of the Service, such as… time of log-in, location of sessions if allowed by the device, what version of the Service you use, technical data such as your IP address, location information, and other similar information.” Google Play music shares Google’s privacy policy, which has garnered its fair share of criticism in the past. Every service has the ability to share user information with third-party applications in one or more situations.

These policies should be read thoroughly with a raised eyebrow, as it’s becoming more clear than ever that there is no such thing as a paperless trail on the internet. However, Spotify, like other streaming and online music services, appears to be after two relatively benign goals: more tailored user experience, and advertising revenue — not to mention all users can opt out if they are willing to forgo the improved user experience. Read the full blog post from Spotify here.

Via: Wired, Thump

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,