Spotify’s New Privacy Policy Prompts Users To Grab Pitchforks, CEO Apologizes

Loved today, hated tomorrow. That's how it goes on the Internet, which is made up of a fickle community of users that will turn on your in an instant if there's a perceived slight. Spotify, long considered one of the so called good guys of the Internet, is finding this out the hard way after making some key changes to its privacy policy.

Spotify wants to collect certain information from your mobile device, including contacts, photos, and media files, all "with your permission," of course. What's more, Spotify puts the burden of local law on you, the user, to determine if that's a good idea and to "seek the consent of your contacts to provide their personal information to Spotify" if necessary. Talk about an awkward conversation.


There's more.

"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)," Spotify says.

You might not agree with the terms of Spotify's revised privacy policy, and if that's the case, "then please don't use the service," the company politely suggests. Much to Spotify's chagrin, some users are choosing to do just that, including Minecraft creator Markus Persson, who went back and forth with Spotify CEO Daniel Ek on Twitter. It went like this:

Markus Persson: @Spotify, Hello. As a consumer, I've always loved your service. You're the reason I stopped pirated music. Please consider not being evil.

Daniel Ek: @notch have you read our blog? We explicitly will ask when using camera or GPS. However both changing playlist image and running feature.

Markus Persson: Feature creep for privacy invasion. I want NONE of those features. I want to stream music.

Daniel Ek: And again, it's *if* you use those features that we'll ask permissions for it.

Markus Persson: "If you don't agree with the terms of this Privacy Policy, then please don't use the Service." -- Spotify
Mr. Ek penned another blog post today, one apologizing for the "confusion" over its revised privacy policy.

"In our new privacy policy, we indicated that we may ask your permission to access new types of information, including photos, mobile device location, voice controls, and your contacts. Let me be crystal clear here: If you don’t want to share this kind of information, you don’t have to," Ek says. "We will ask for your express permission before accessing any of this data – and we will only use it for specific purposes that will allow you to customize your Spotify experience."

Ek also said there will be another update to Spotify's privacy policy in the coming weeks to clarify its position.