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article imageSpotify to users: 'We have heard your concerns loud and clear'

By James Walker     Aug 21, 2015 in Technology
Spotify's updated privacy policy has had a lot of people up in arms this week owing to its requests to track nearly everything that a user does on their phone. Now, the company has apologised and explained - after debating with Minecraft maker Notch.
As Motherboard reports, Markus Persson, known as Notch, became the first major figure to publicly criticise Spotify's new privacy policy earlier today. Persson tweeted a request for Spotify to "consider not being evil", saying "As a consumer, I've always loved your service. You're the reason I stopped pirating music."
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek quickly replied to the tweet, starting a quick-fire debate that lasted for ten minutes. Persson told Ek that the new policies are "feature creep for privacy invasion", echoing the thoughts of many this week by saying "I want NONE of those features. I want to stream music."
Ek insisted it's only "*if*" you use features requiring access to elevated permissions that the app will request them. He said "We explicitly will ask when using camera or GPS", pointing to custom playlist album art and matching music to a user's pace when running as potential reasons for having access to those aspects of a phone's hardware.
Persson pointed out that the Spotify privacy policy specifically tells users not to use the service if they don't agree with it in its entirety. Ek noted that it is no different to services like Twitter which request access to photos to upload them, saying "Twitter doesn't need your photos. But it's nice that I can post a photo," noting to Persson "which you seem perfectly happy using?"
The exchange ended with Persson telling Ek that he thought he was wrong because there's no need to have those features when listening to music. The Spotify CEO tried to argue his point once more, writing "if you want to personalise a playlist by having a custom image or a new profile pic I'd say yes" before Persson claimed that Spotify has "zero inherent trust" and that the "bigger problem is that you're in bed with facebook."
The full exchange can be read over at Musically. Neither of the pair really yielded any ground to each other during the heated conversation which sums up the thoughts felt both ways by millions this week. Spotify's privacy policy now states that it can access information including contacts, location, photos, sensor information and voice commands, leading to strong objections from privacy advocates.
It seems as though Ek did at least take note of some of Notch's points though. Just a few hours later, the CEO posted a Spotify blog post titled "SORRY" and attempted to allay some concerns. He states why access is required to each hardware category - including photos, location, voice, contacts and sharing - and says that Spotify is "100 percent committed" to protecting user privacy and giving control over shared information.
Ek says "we have heard your concerns loud and clear" and that an updated privacy policy will be coming in the next few weeks. Concerned users are encouraged to email privacy@spotify.com and are assured that any emails will be taken "very seriously".
More about Spotify, Music, Streaming, Service, minecraft
 
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