Spotify Apologizes for Spying on Its Users; Plans Total Overhaul to Privacy Policy

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On Wednesday, Spotify quietly updated its terms and conditions to grant itself sweeping abilities to track every location, movement, and online activity of its users, even when those users weren’t using Spotify.  That data, including information pulled from friends’ profiles, would then be transmitted to advertising partners.

This morning, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek back-pedaled on those terms and promised an entirely new set of terms of conditions, to be updated next week.  He also pointed to the ability for users to opt-out of certain data collection activities, a claim that contradicts language in the recently-updated terms.

The following is a statement on the matter shared with Digital Music News this morning from Ek.

We are in the middle of rolling out new terms and conditions and privacy policy and they’ve caused a lot of confusion about what kind of information we access and what we do with it. We apologize for that. We should have done a better job in communicating what these policies mean and how any information you choose to share will – and will not – be used.

 

We understand people’s concerns about their personal information and are 100 percent committed to protecting our users’ privacy and ensuring that you have control over the information you share.

 

So let me try and clear things up.

 

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.

 

Photos: We will never access your photos without explicit permission and we will never scan or import your photo library or camera roll. If you give us permission to access photos, we will only use or access images that you specifically choose to share. Those photos would only be used in ways you choose and control – to create personalized cover art for a playlist or to change your profile image, for example.

 

Location: We will never gather or use the location of your mobile device without your explicit permission. We would use it to help personalize recommendations or to keep you up to date about music trending in your area. And if you choose to share location information but later change your mind, you will always have the ability to stop sharing.

 

Voice: We will never access your microphone without your permission. Many people like to use Spotify in a hands-free way, and we may build voice controls into future versions of the product that will allow you to skip tracks, or pause, or otherwise navigate the app. You will always have the ability to disable voice controls.

 

Contacts: We will never scan or import your contacts without your permission. Spotify is a social platform and many people like to share playlists and music they discover with their friends. In the future, we may want to give you the ability to find your friends on Spotify by searching for Spotify users in your contacts if you choose to do that.

 

Sharing: The Privacy Policy also mentions advertisers, rights holders and mobile networks. This is not new. With regard to mobile networks, some Spotify subscribers sign up through their mobile provider, which means some information is shared with them by necessity. We also share some data with our partners who help us with marketing and advertising efforts, but this information is de-identified – your personal information is not shared with them.

 

Again, we have heard your concerns loud and clear. We are also going to update the new Privacy Policy in the coming weeks to better reflect what we have explained above. If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know by emailing us at [email protected]. We’re listening to you and we take your concerns very seriously.

 

Daniel

 

8 Responses

  1. Bert

    The damage is done, the data collected so this about turn is all part of the cynical plan. They got the goodies.

    Reply
  2. Vail, CO

    Why do this? Because Spotify is desperate for cash, and has 55MM people not paying with low ad rev generator. This move would dramatically raise $ …

    Reply
  3. mack the knife

    ‘We should have done a better job in communicating’. Correction.. You chose not to communicate clearly. You chose to deceive. And now caught out, you’re dissembling. Sleezebag. F**k off and die.

    Reply
    • Phil Osopher

      What’s your problem?
      Do you realize how you’re coming off?
      Just like all the name’s your’re calling others.

      Reply

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