Spotify CEO hints why the music service's privacy policy gets all up in your business

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek recently hinted on Twitter that the company's recent privacy policy change is directed at specific new features.

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Update: Spotify CEO Daniel Ek just apologized for the new privacy policy.

Like nearly every other company on the Internet, Spotify recently changed its privacy policy to gather all kinds of data about you—with your permission.

The new privacy policy says Spotify may ask for your contacts, photos, or other media files stored on your device. It also wants to collect device sensor information such as accelerometer and GPS, again with your permission.

When the Internet noticed the policy change it did not go over well. Many accused Spotify of overreaching and asking for too much personal information. Officially, Spotify hasn’t said why it wants all this information. On Thursday, we speculated that the new sensor data might have something to do with Spotify’s new running feature.

As for the rest, we weren’t sure. Since our first report, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek took to Twitter and hinted at what we might expect to see from the music streaming service in the future.

In a back and forth on Twitter with Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson, Ek hinted that Spotify may want to get access to your address book as part of a “find friends” feature. “There’s a feature called find friends like in many other apps,” Ek said. “And in that we may ask for it.”

Currently, Spotify is all about helping your find friends through Facebook. Anything that helps Spotify move beyond that would be a great addition. The question is how will Spotify handle your address book? Will it want to keep a stored record of your contacts to notify when people you know join Spotify, as some apps do? Or will this be a one-time matching service that only happens when a user initiates it. How your data is handled would be the bigger privacy issue, considering most of us already store contact data with Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and Microsoft.

The story behind the story: With Apple Music getting so much attention, Spotify wants to stay as far ahead of its new rival as it can by adding new features. Adapting the company’s privacy policy to allow for new features that may require more data from your smartphone or tablet is an early step in this process. Whether users will be comfortable with this change is another issue that Spotify may have to deal with considering how the reaction’s been so far.

Custom images

The second hint Ek laid down in his Twitter chat with Persson was over accessing your photos. Spotify may be planning to let you add a custom image to your playlists or change your profile pic with your device camera. “Twitter doesn’t need your photos. But it’s nice that I can post a photo,” Ek said.

Persson responded by arguing that music apps don’t need a feature like that.

“If you want to personalize a playlist by having a custom image or a new profile pic I’d say yes,” Ek said in reply.

It’s not clear if Ek was hinting at future features for Spotify or just general examples. However, considering all of those features are currently missing from Spotify and would help improve the app it’s a good bet we’ll see something like them in the near future.

[via The Verge]

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