Spotify’s Evil New Privacy Policy

A bizarre but on point exchange went down early today on Twitter between Minecraft founder Markus Persson (@notch), Spotify founder Daniel Ek (@eldsjal) and a number of other Twitter users. The exchange starter when Persson expressed disapproval over Spotify’s new Privacy Policy, which went into effect this week.

I’m listening to Spotify as I write this, by the way.

At issue is Persson’s objection to Spotify allowing itself access to just about everything on your phone, including your contacts, your location and your Facebook activity. Wired magazine has a great summary here titled You Can’t Do Squat About Spotify’s Eerie New Privacy Policy. We tweeted about it yesterday but dug in this morning to assess what it means for Spotify users.

Spotify does have a solution for its privacy-minded users.


We think Persson has it right here. The more that Spotify, or any app knows about a user, the more that user is worth to the company. That doesn’t make permission creep right. Part of the Twitter exchange:


For you parents out there, especially parents of Spotify users, this is a good teaching moment. Your kids are using apps and social networks – probably dozens of them. They won’t read the Privacy Policy; only a handful of users do. You can encourage them to take a look at the section titled something like “How we use your information”.

To be fair to Spotify, here’s an excerpt from Facebook’s Privacy Policy:

“We receive information about you and your activities on and off Facebook from third-party partners, such as information from a partner when we jointly offer services or from an advertiser about your experiences or interactions with them.”

Facebook is watching you, even when you are not on Facebook.

From Tumblr’s Privacy Policy:

“In some cases, we partner with Third Party Services that may provide information about you. Such information could include, for example, your gender, if you have disclosed that information to that third party and made it available for Tumblr to access.”

Even if you’ve chosen to be anonymous on Tumblr (many users do), the site may know that you’re a girl, or a panda bear.

We could go on, but in summary, using a social network or app almost always requires users to give up some personal information. That can be okay or not so good, but it’s important to know what you’re sharing and how it might be used.




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