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Spotify Bumbles Policy Change Announcement
By: Jessica Cherok
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Sometimes, in an effort to make your service better, you also succeed in scaring the hell out of your customers. Such was the case with Spotify's new privacy policy and what it calls "a lot of confusion."

When you read through the new policy, it sounds a lot like Spotify will now be able to track your location, use your photos, access your contacts, and even share your Facebook information with third parties. Rightfully, people were concerned about what seemed to be an overreaching policy for an app that just lets you listen to music.

As a result, Spotify's CEO, Daniel Ek, penned a blog post aimed at clearing up the misconceptions. What is interesting to note about the post is not that Spotify isn't trying to collect all of that information. They are. They just want you to know that you don't have to let them.

Here's how the use of your information breaks down:
 
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.

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.

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. [DP Note: They don't actually have this ability yet, but still need your voice in case they want to build it in the future.]

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. [DP Note: They don't actually have this ability yet, but still need your contacts in case they want to build it in the future.]

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.

Basically, it's the same old "give us some info, and we'll make the service better" scenario. Which, when explained, sounds perfectly reasonable. It's too bad they didn't start with the blog post before making changes to the policy.

   

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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