Spotify asks for your photos, location and contacts in privacy code revamp
Spotify wants more information from you, and may be sharing it more widely.
The policy now allows Spotify to collect individuals' photos, contacts and location data from a user's smartphone. It also lets Spotify track users' browsing activity when they visit a website with a Spotify widget (such as a Play or Follow button) installed.
Although Spotify said the new data collection tools are being introduced to improve its services and that users would be able to opt out, the updated policy generated angry responses.
Responding to concerns about the policy, Spotify said that the privacy of its users is its "highest priority" and that it would allow users to opt out of sharing some data. It said collecting more data would allow it to improve the service. Daniel Ek, its chief executive, personally responded to concerns on Twitter.
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).
Other websites may integrate Spotify widgets (such as the Spotify Play Button or Spotify Follow Button). When you visit a site with a Spotify widget embedded, we may receive certain information, including information about the web page you visited. Spotify and the widget can recognise you, and the widget may be used to show personalised content or advertising. We know when you interact with a widget, and websites containing the widgets may receive this information.
We may share information with advertising partners in order to send you promotional communications about Spotify or to show you more tailored content, including relevant advertising for products and services that may be of interest to you, and to understand how users interact with advertisements. The information we share is in a de-identified format (for example, through the use of hashing) that does not personally identify you.
The Spotify service allows you to listen to fully-licensed streaming content. Spotify shares information with the rights holders that license this content to Spotify. The data that Spotify shares is in a de-identified format that does not identify you directly, unless you opt in to the sharing of your personal information.
If you access the Spotify Service through an offer that you received or purchased from a third party such as your mobile network operator, we may also share information with that third party about your use of the Spotify Service, such as whether and to what extent you have used the offer, activated a Spotify account, or actively used the Service.
In addition to the above, we may also share your information with... academic researchers for purposes including statistical analysis and academic study, but only in a de-identified format
A lot of the new collection methods are likely to improve the user experience. For example taking data about the speed of movements will integrate with Spotify's running service, which matches songs to how fast someone is running.
A spokesman for the company provided the following statement:
"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.
"The data accessed simply helps us to tailor improved experiences to our users, and build new and personalised products for the future. Recent new features include Spotify Running, which matches the BPM of your music to the pace of your run, or the new Discover Weekly feature, which curates a weekly playlist based on your tastes.
"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."
Photos: We are testing the ability for users to change their profile pictures or add a picture to personalise their playlists.
Address Book: We are always looking for ways to more easily find your friends on Spotify to discover music through your social circles.
Location data: We recently launched the Running function, which allows users to match their music to the speed at which they run. Many running apps help you track your run and we are exploring whether adding location-based functionality to our existing Running feature would be beneficial for our users.