Spotify CEO Issues Apology Over New Privacy Controversy
The music streaming service introduced the following new policy in a Monday blog post: "We may ask for customer permission to collect information from new sources, such as address book, location, and sensor data from the mobile device to improve the customer experience and inform product decisions."
Backlash is almost expected once popular companies decide to alter their terms of service — you get your buzzword-chocked hot takes from smart or famous people, followed by viral outrage, and finally, cancelations (or threats of them, at least). For Spotify, the condemnation over its new set of terms and privacy guidelines has followed this plot like a freshman scriptwriting seminar, leading to a Twitter-off between Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek and Markus 'Notch' Persson, the billionaire creator of Minecraft.
@notch have you read our blog? We explicitly will ask when using camera or GPS. However both changing playlist image and running feature— Daniel Ek (@eldsjal) August 21, 2015
The actual ToS, which went into effect in the U.S. on Aug. 19, goes into more detail about the types of "new sources" of data gathered from your phone. "With your permission, we may collect information stored on your mobile device, such as contacts, photos, or media files."
In her post, Katz explains that granting Spotify access to this new data "helps us to tailor improved experiences to our users, and build new and personalized products for the future." She closes by stressing Spotify’s dedication to privacy. "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 aforementioned backlash unsurprisingly focuses on these new moves to collect more of your data. Following Katz’s post, Wired and Fortune wrote pieces calling the terms "eerie" and "creepy," respectively. Even Graham Linehan, creator of Father Ted and The IT Crowd, weighed in:
Here's the address if you want to ask Spotify about their creepy new privacy policies email@example.com http://t.co/tCW2QndikK— Graham Linehan (@Glinner) August 21, 2015
Following the uproar, comments sections and social media became rife with users pledging to dump Spotify over the new terms. Whether Ek's apology quiets the furor remains to be seen — otherwise, expect more of this:
There, @Spotify account ended. I suggest you do the same. Privacy policies like that must die. I'll happily resume sub after remedies.— Henrik Pettersson (@carnalizer) August 21, 2015
This story first appeared on billboard.com