By Tamsin Oxford - August 24th, 2015

A new privacy policy released by Spotify last week on August 19th saw the internet rise up in consternation and outrage...

There were three terms and conditions outlined by the new policy that caused the biggest reaction and have been copied and pasted across the web. These three elements are strange, a little vague, and rather invasive. The backlash from customers has been both swift and furious. From asking the user to get permission from their contacts to share their data to watching their activity on social media, Spotify is attempting to stick its proverbial fingers into every pie.

Twitter was unhappy:

The section that caused the most consternation read:

“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.” – Spotify

So basically you are now required to not only share private information with Spotify, information that they really shouldn’t be asking for in the first place, but that they can bother everyone in your contact book on your behalf before helping themselves to their personal data, too. Then they want to know exactly where you are, all the time.

“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).” – Spotify

And then they want to go through your Facebook and read all about your day…

“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.” – Spotify

The apology issued by CEO Daniel Ek on August 21st addressed the strange, hide-in-a-shrubbery style amends. Ek stressed that users have control over what type of information they share and was quick to point out that actually the GPS location is tied to Spotify Running, and isn’t so the company can freely stalk its users.

“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.”

This was not met with much in the way of consumer approval, with most people saying that the apology hardly touched sides.

The apology may have cleared a few things up, but the damage has been done, and people are leaving Spotify for less invasive shores. However, in spite of the backlash and the outrage, a glimpse at Twitter three days later shows a world of perfectly happy and oblivious Spotify users carrying on as if nothing has changed. Spotify continues to grab hold of more user data to drive its own bottom line, and only a few will pull out and seek alternative sources of music. The terms and conditions that caused all the issues remain unchanged. The choice returns to the user–stay and be watched, or leave and buy a CD.


comments powered by Disqus