New Spotify Privacy Policy Aims To Provide “Plain Language” Explanation For Collected Data

Just weeks after Spotify ticked off many of its 75 million active users with an updated, potentially invasive privacy policy, the music streaming service has once again revamped the terms, this time including an introduction that provides clear reasoning and examples of data collected.

In a post on Spotify’s official blog, CEO Daniel Ek wrote an explainer for the latest policy update, noting that many of the changes came after receiving feedback from users of the service.

While Ek’s post is on Spotify’s corporate blog, the actual policy updates are currently only live in the U.K., Denmark, Norway, Sweden and New Zealand. A spokesperson for the company says they will be rolled out in the U.S. and other markets in the coming weeks and days.

Ek says the new policy – which he describes as “plain language” – essentially breaks down into two categories of information that Spotify collects and is “intended to be a clear statement of the company’s approach and principals about privacy.”

The first category Ek refers to is “information that we must have in order for you to use Spotify,” this includes users’ names, IP address, music they listen to and sensor information to rotate videos.

The second category, which is where most people took issues the first time around, involves “information that enables us to offer you additional features,” namely the collection of data from your mobile devices.

The newly updated privacy policy aims to simplify several of the clauses in that category, including a sentence that proclaimed that Spotify “may collect information stored on your mobile device, such as contacts, photos, or media files.”

The relevant section — under the header “Information Stored on Your Mobile Device” — now gives additional context and examples on why the service would even want some of that information from you.

“We may provide features that rely on the use of additional information on your mobile device or require access to certain services on your mobile device that will enhance your Spotify experience but are not required to use the Service,” the policy introduction reads. “For example, we might allow you to upload photos to your profile, connect with friends, or let you use voice commands to control the Service.”

According to the updated policy, which again has not yet been rolled out to U.S. customers, “Granting us access does not mean you are granting us unlimited access to that information or that we will access specific information without your permission. To the contrary, for each type of information listed in this section, before we access this information or these features of your mobile device, we will ask for your permission.”

The soon-to-be released in the U.S. policy – and Ek’s introduction – also includes clarification for specific data collection of photos, location, contacts and voice.

The policy changes first announced in August also included a controversial clause that said Spotify could “collect information about your location based on… your phone’s GPS location or other forms of locating mobile devices (e.g. Bluetooth).” This raised concerns that the company would be tracking users’ locations.

The company reiterates it won’t access that information without permission, but the introduction goes on to clarify why those details could be beneficial.

“This information enables us to create collaborative listening experiences (only with others who have also given permission), and to provide even better recommendations about locally popular music, live venues, and concerts,” Ek writes.

According to Ek’s introduction, the collection of contacts and photos would allow users to find friends or contacts who use Spotify and customize playlist art. Allowing Spotify to have access to your microphone could allow users to control their selections verbally rather than by physically pushing buttons.

Users who signed the August privacy policy update do not have to re-sign the new terms. Those who did not agree to the terms last month will see the latest revamp “in the coming days and weeks,” Ek says.

[via Business Insider]

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