Spotify’s ‘creepy’ new privacy policy tracks user movement

Aug 24, 2015 | Content marketing, Regulation

Spotify has come under fire for a new privacy policy that collects user’s contacts, photos and media files from their phone and even tracks their movements. The music streaming platform said it wants access to sensor data stored on the user’s smartphone as well as permission to view social media activity to help it “tailor […]

Spotify has come under fire for a new privacy policy that collects user’s contacts, photos and media files from their phone and even tracks their movements.


spotify%20spy.jpg
The music streaming platform said it wants access to sensor data stored on the user’s smartphone as well as permission to view social media activity to help it “tailor improved user experience”.
The move has outrages many users and privacy campaigners, with some threatening to leave the service.
Sensor data, such as how fast the user’s phone is moving, helped the Swedish firm develop Spotify Running, a new feature that tailors music playlists to physical activity.
“Spotify is constantly innovating and evolving its service to deliver the best possible experience for our users. This means delivering the perfect recommendations for every moment, and helping you to enjoy, discover and share more music than ever before,” Spotify said in a statement.
“Throughout, the privacy and security of our customers’ data is – and will remain – Spotify’s highest priority.
“We will always ask for individual permission or clearly inform you of the ability to opt out from sharing location, photos, voice and contacts.”

User backlash

“Like a jealous ex, Spotify wants to see (and collect) your photos and see who you’re talking to,” wrote Wired magazine.
“I’m now considering whether the £10 I pay for a premium membership is worth it, given the amount of privacy I’d be giving away by consenting,” wrote Forbes reporter Thomas Fox-Brewster.
The firm has 75 million active users and 20 million subscribers in 58 countries, according to its own figures.
Minecraft creator Markus Persson, aka Notch, tweeted to his 2.4m followers that he has cancelled his account. Persson tweeted the company direct.
“As a consumer, I’ve always loved your service. You’re the reason I stopped pirating music. Please consider not being evil,” he wrote.


The message led to an interesting exchange between Notch and Daniel Ek, founder of Spotify about the extent of user privacy:


In a blogpost, Spotify said its new terms were updated in the interests of transparency.
“We want to be as open and transparent as possible when it comes to how we describe our business, how we work with advertisers, what information we collect, and what we do with it,” the post said.
“We also want to make sure our terms are up-to-date with all the latest features we are offering.”

Share This