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 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.
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.