Spotify updates its controversial privacy policy

Spotify has released a new privacy policy after the internet whipped itself into a furor over the last one. The streaming company got itself into trouble last month with an update that some onlookers labeled "eerie" and "atrocious." Of course, it wasn't really anything worth worrying about, as those that took the time to look through it properly quickly deduced. Nonetheless, Spotify pledged to update the policy to better clarify what it is and isn't collecting from users, and now it's done just that. The new version is virtually identical to the last, but includes a section at the beginning in plain language explaining things.

According to the new policy, there are two categories of information Spotify collects. The first is "information that we must have in order for you to use Spotify," which includes things like your name, IP address, the music you listen to, and some sensor information to allow it to rotate videos. The second is "information that enables us to offer you additional features." This second part is what got the company in trouble. Now, it's noting that it "never receive any of the following information unless you expressly choose to share it." This second category has quite a few examples, each of which are clearly explained in the policy:

  • Your specific location: We will never gather or use your specific device location without first getting your explicit permission. 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.

  • Your photos: We will only access images that you specifically choose, and we will never scan or import your photo library or camera roll. This allows you to choose individual pictures to change your profile picture or create cover art for a playlist. You can stop sharing photos and revoke access at any time.

  • Your contacts: We will never scan or import your contacts unless you ask us to. If you choose to do so, we will only use your contact information to help you find friends or contacts who use Spotify.

  • Your microphone: We will never access or use your microphone unless you give us explicit permission. This could enable you to control Spotify with your voice, and you will alway have the ability to disable access to the microphone.

"The distinction between these two categories is important," Spotify continues, again reiterating that the first is required to use the service, while the second is to support additional, optional features.

With the update, those that left the service after the last policy dropped can take a look through and decide if they want back in. As the actual terms haven't changed -- they're merely better explained -- those that agreed to the previous terms won't need to okay the new set.

Thanks, Joel!