Spotify violates privacy by constantly tracking their users’ information

March 14, 2020 — by Shreya Katkere

Spotify Wrapped is a feature on the music app Spotify that gives a recap of a person’s favorite songs and artists from the year. It was released on Dec. 5, 2019. 

Many Spotify users looked forward to the release of Spotify Wrapped because they were excited to see their top artists for the year. In addition to showing top artists, Spotify shows users the number of minutes they spent on the app this past year and the songs they listened to the most. 

But in order to create Spotify Wrapped and other curated playlists on the app, Spotify is constantly recording people’s information when they use the app.  They have access to every song a person listens to and keep a tally of all of the minutes a person uses the app. 

This level of monitoring is troubling, given the privacy implications and the possibility of this information being hacked and sold.

Spotify should decrease its constant monitoring of user’s activities on Spotify for those who do not feel comfortable with it and do not mind not having playlists made for them. People should have the option to opt in for these extra features that involve tracking of information if they choose, but it should not be an automatic feature on the app.

Recently, the debate over privacy issues, such as data theft on Facebook, regarding companies has been gaining momentum. This debate mainly targets social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram and how they are constantly tracking a person’s information. Facebook shows ads based on a person’s internet searches, which means they have access to what users search on the internet.

Similar to many social networking platforms, Spotify’s tracking of personal information also brings up the issue of privacy. Even though the services Spotify provides (such as making playlists and providing lists of recommended songs) are helpful, it also can be viewed as creepy. 

In addition to having access to the song choices of users, Spotify has access to a person’s social networks if they choose. Spotify mentioned in a public statement that they want access to this information because their intent is to become a type of social networking platform where people follow each other and share their playlists and favorite songs.

Spotify should incorporate a basic account for users, which acts as a radio app and does not track information about them to create customizable playlists. For the users worried about their privacy, this would be the perfect option because they can still access countless songs through the app and listen to the standard playlists, but without the risk of having their personal information accessible by others, some of whom would no doubt use it in an unwanted way.

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On March 27, members of the Air National Guard converted the Santa Clara County Convention Center to a temporary federal facility for about 250 coronavirus patients. The center is to house those who have tested positive for the virus, but don't require intensive in-hospital care. More information can be found through the local news. Photo courtesy of Randy Vazquez of the Bay Area News Group.

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