In another blow to user privacy, Spotify has released new terms and conditions that essentially allow the music streaming service, just like Facebook and Google before it, to invade the living $#!t out of users’ privacy. As Marcus Persson, the Swede who invented the popular online vidya game Minecraft, put it, the new Ts-and-Cs are just another example of “feature creep for privacy invasion.”
“We May Collect Information Stored On Your Mobile Device”
Spotify, which also hails from Sweden, has over 75 million “active users” (i.e., people who use the free version of the service) and more than 20 million “subscribers” (i.e. dummies who actually pay for the “premium” version) around the world. The new terms and conditions would allow Spotify to harvest info from users’ mobile devices, glean users’ location data, and gather information from other apps and services that link to Spotify—Twitter, Facebook, and the like.
It really is amazing the kinds of things one can find if one actually reads the terms and conditions one is agreeing to when installing or updating an app or a computer program. Spotify’s new jerkaround contains three particularly suspect clauses, that read, in part(s):
“With your permission, we may collect information stored on your mobile device, such as contacts, photos, or media files.”
“”We may also collect information about your location based on… your phone’s GPS location or other forms of locating mobile devices (e.g. Bluetooth).”
“You may integrate your Spotify account with Third Party Applications. If you do, we may receive similar information related to your interactions with [Spotify] 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.”
So, you know, just run of the mill complete privacy invasion type stuff. NBD.
“No, You Guys, It’s Totally Cool, I Swear” – Spotify
Predictably, Spotify officials are trying to downplay the fact that they’re one-hundred percent trying to invade the privacy of their users for monetary gain. The company has claimed that the new Tc-and-Cs are related to only a few, specific new features.
When asked on Twitter why the app needs access to users’ contacts, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek replied: “we [sic] don’t. But there’s a feature called find friends like in many other apps. And in that we may ask for it.”
So, yeah. It’s all about the Benjamins. Spotify wants to “help you find your friends” so it can try to get them to sign up for the service, too, so that Spotify may further monetize them. You’re not fooling anyone, Ek—the above-quoted clause might as well read “such as ¢onta¢t$.”
Photo credit: Esther Dyson | Flickr