Spotify just updated its terms of service with language that further details the kind of data collection it practices, and why it does it. While some of the text additions and changes and might not actually have an adverse impact on users, the fact still remains that Spotify wants to collect even more data about you, in line with what other companies are also doing. Unlike others, though, Spotify doesn’t seem ready to let you do anything about it.
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The music streaming company does use language that indicates you’ll have a say into what data it can collect from you, your friends, your likes and your movements, but it’s not exactly clear when and how you’ll be able to do it.
“The privacy and security of our customers’ data is – and will remain – Spotify’s highest priority,” Spotify writes on its blog. “We will always ask for individual permission or clearly inform you of the ability to opt out from sharing location, photos, voice and contacts.”
The company says that, with your permission, it’ll collect data from your mobile device including contacts, photos or media files. It’ll also ask you to seek consent from your contacts so that Spotify can collect their data from your phone.
Spotify also wants access to GPS, to know where you’re going and how fast you are, which are details apparently needed for its Spotify Running feature.
Finally, if you’re using Spotify through Facebook, then it’ll want to receive information about your activity in there, including Likes and other publicly available information including “our name, profile picture, country, hometown, email address, date of birth, gender, friends’ names and profile pictures, and networks”. By agreeing to the terms of service, you also tell Spotify that you’re absolutely fine with it collecting authentication information for Facebook and other sites.
All this data may be used by Spotify to offer you better-tailored products, and that might be okay for most people. However, it’ll likely also be used so that the service can provide you better ads, especially if you’re not a premium user.
If you don’t want to give Spotify access to your data but wish to use the service, you should accept the new terms of service, and then deny access every time a Spotify prompt will hit your screen. Furthermore, you can unlink your Facebook and Spotify accounts to prevent Facebook data collection.
Following the wave of criticism received online, Spotify published a “Sorry” post on its blog to explain that it won’t automatically gather data off your phones, and that you’ll be in complete control over what happens.
In his apology post, Ek further detailed what kind of photos, location, voice and contacts data Spotify will collect if allowed, and how you’ll be able to manage what you share with the company.