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 [BLOG] Spotify Rolling Out New Privacy Policy That's Anything But 
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He's Technically Motivated
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 3:14 am
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Wow, Spotify. How and why does a service mainly geared around music streaming become one of the most intrusive around? With the latest Spotify update, there’s a new privacy policy going into effect - and the TL;DR version is that if you’re at all concerned about data privacy, now may well be the time to jump ship, because this new policy definitely isn't.



Here are just some examples of the type of snooping Spotify wants to get up to with the latest policy:


Use Spotify on your mobile? Hope you're okay with sharing your Contacts, Photos and Media...


Quote:
With your permission, we may collect information stored on your mobile device, such as contacts, photos, or media files. Local law may require that you seek the consent of your contacts to provide their personal information to Spotify, which may use that information for the purposes specified in this Privacy Policy.



Tracking Your Location


Quote:
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).



Third party services - well, at least you can disconnect Facebook...


Quote:
You may integrate your Spotify account with Third Party Applications. If you do, we may receive similar information related to your interactions with the Service on the Third Party Application, as well as information about your publicly available activity on the Third Party Application. This includes, for example, your “Like”s and posts on Facebook.

(To be fair, this is really only saying that Spotify will do what anyone on Facebook can do anyway - look at the things you've posted publicly; as well as anything related to Spotify itself. If you've integrated your Spotify with Facebook, you pretty much already accepted this was going to happen anyway; but if you find it creepy, you might want to disconnect Facebook from Spotify via your Preferences)


Storing (and Sharing!) Your Credit Card Information


Quote:
If you sign up for a Trial (as defined in the Terms and Conditions of Use), purchase any of our Paid Subscriptions (as defined in the Terms and Conditions of Use), or make other purchases through the Service, your credit or debit card information (such as card type and expiration date) and other financial data that we need to process your payment may be collected and stored by us and/or the payment processors with which we work. We may also collect some limited information, such as your postal code, mobile number, and details of your transaction history, all of which are necessary to provide the Service.




Spotify claim that they collect personal data from users primarily to improve the overall experience for people using the service; but it's clear that not all of the data being gathered is to benefit the service itself. Indeed, if you look more closely at the paragraphs explaining how they intend to use the data, the real purpose becomes clear - advertising:


Quote:
We may use the information we collect, including your personal information....to provide, personalise, and improve your experience with the Service and products, services, and advertising (including for third party products and services) made available on or outside the Service (including on other sites that you visit), for example by providing customised, personalised, or localised content, recommendations, features, and advertising on or outside of the Service




So, if you love music but also love privacy, maybe it's time to ditch Spotify and look for a new streaming service instead. Or maybe consider a medium curated not just by bots (friendly as they are), but also by real-life DJs who care and which broadcasts a schedule of live shows that let you influence exactly what you want to hear? If that sounds good, you're already in the right place ;)

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