Spotify Angers Users with New Privacy Update

Last week, Spotify, the popular music streaming service, changed their privacy policy. These types of changes are common with companies that offer services online, so many users ignore them. However, in their most recent update, Spotify seems to have crossed a line in order to “provide a better listening experience”. What does the new policy say? Here are the direct words from the website. “We may also collect other information available on or through your Third Party Application account, including, for example, your name, profile picture, country, hometown, email address, date of birth, gender, friends’ names and profile pictures, and networks.” They will also collect data on regular pictures, phone contacts, whether you are walking, running, or in transit to a location, and more.


Pardon me? Spotify really needs to collect all of this data? Seeing all of this, there is no wonder why these words would make so many people upset. The collection of this data feels extremely intrusive, like something out of a science fiction movie. All of this press has prompted CEO Daniel Ek to apologize and “clarify” these statements. In his clarification, he makes no excuses for collecting the data, but he states that a user may opt out of the “experience”. This is likely the exception, instead of the rule. It will be interesting to see just how difficult Spotify makes the opt-out process. Whereas it may be possible that some data collection may provide a better playlist, it will most certainly be used for advertisers.

They are not the first company to collect user data in this way, nor will they be the last. Still, this may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The thought of pictures and contacts being used may cause users to analyze if it is really worth it to stay on Spotify, or walk away from the popular streaming company all together. The amount of backlash from this update may also cause companies to re-examine their relationships with users, and determine if something needs to be changed.

Either way, this incident raises some questions. Will people start reading the Terms of Service agreements for online companies? Will these companies change their policies on the way they deal with members? Those answers are not easy ones. If things change at all, they are not likely to change quickly. Is it possible that these conversations are in our future? We will have to wait and see.

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