Spotify’s CEO Clarifies New Privacy Policy After Controversy

/ 1 year ago


Spotify’s updated terms and conditions page has caused outrage amongst users and resulted in a number of high profile individuals to cancel their membership. To access the Spotify streaming service, you need to accept a privacy policy which allows the company access to sensitive data including pictures, videos, messages and contact numbers. The official statement reads:

“With your permission, we may collect information stored on your mobile device, such as contacts, photos, or media files. Local law may require that you seek the consent of your contacts to provide their personal information to Spotify, which may use that information for the purposes specified in this Privacy Policy.” 

“Depending on the type of device that you use to interact with the Service and your settings, we may also collect information about your location based on, for example, your phone’s GPS location or other forms of locating mobile devices (e.g., Bluetooth). We may also collect sensor data (e.g., data about the speed of your movements, such as whether you are running, walking, or in transit).”

“You may integrate your Spotify account with Third Party Applications. If you do, we may receive similar information related to your interactions with the Service on the Third Party Application, as well as information about your publicly available activity on the Third Party Application. This includes, for example, your “Like”s and posts on Facebook.”

Unfortunately, Spotify’s handling of the new agreement has been fairly forthright and doesn’t really care if you disagree with the terms:

“If you don’t agree with the terms of this Privacy Policy, then please don’t use the Service.”

Markus Persson, creator of Minecraft, has been critical of the policy and believes the data snooping is a complete breach of privacy.  In lieu of the negative press, Spotify’s CEO has issued a statement to address people’s fears:

“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.”

According to Spotify, your data can only be accessed if you give express permission. However, does this mean an opt-in process? I’m quite sceptical as you have to agree to the new terms and conditions before accessing the service. This could constitute as a green light for Spotify to monitor you data usage and even sell it to third parties. Subsequently, I believe Spotify needs to go further and clarify the impact of accepting the privacy policy’s terms.

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