Much fanfare hit the tech world (which is, let's admit it, extremely out-of-touch with the music world) yesterday when Spotify announced that it has updated its privacy policy. Most of the updates are relatively standard, but a few key components set off some fears in the WIRED staff, which spawned a piece called “You Can't Do Squat About Spotify's Eerie New Privacy Policy.” WIRED's fears stemmed largely from three main aspects of the new policy: the ability for Spotify to access your phone's photos and contacts, collect information based on your location, and see what you “Like” on Facebook and other “third-party applications.”

Each of these three main sticking points in the new policy can easily be explained or avoided, and luckily for you, there's absolutely nothing to worry about. Thanks to an unnecessarily heated Twitter debate with Minecraft creator Markus Persson (yes, you read that correctly), we now know directly via Spotify CEO Daniel Ek that the Spotify app will only ask to use photos and contacts, which can be opted out of, to set custom images on playlists or profile pictures. Additionally, contact info will only be used as a way to find other friends on the service based presumably on their email addresses and names. To put this into perspective, the Twitter iOS app uses both of these permissions as well, and only seeks approval if the user actively tries to seek contacts or post photos via the service. Based on Ek's assertions, the privacy-conscious Spotify user who only tries to listen to music on the app will be able to easily avoid allowing these permissions.

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As updated in the original WIRED piece, the location tracking element of the new policy ties in directly with Spotify's features for runners, called Running. The app is able to track a run and match the runner's pace to the BPM of their music in order to make a custom playlist. These playlists are designed to keep the runner's heart and pace at a steady rate as they finish their workout.

Finally, the app's ability to track Likes on Facebook and other third party information is perhaps the most easily avoided. While Spotify initially required a tethered Facebook account when it launched in the U.S., the Spotify and Facebook apps are now entirely separate. While this aspect of the privacy policy is likely to be used to fuel better recommendations based on Facebook Likes, privacy-conscious users can de-tether their Facebook accounts from Spotify without fear of losing data on either end. As referenced by the WIRED article, more information on how to do that can be found here.

Spotify users, let us know what you think about the updates to the privacy policy. Will you cease to use the service, or does it not matter to you at all? Leave a comment.