Ek said Friday that the company will continue to ask before accessing personal data, and also detailed some of the changes. One example: photos. “We will never access your photos without explicit permission,” Ek said, adding that the new terms were meant to allow Spotify users to take their own mobile phone photos for playlist cover photos.
Similarly, location data is accessed only with explicit permission as well, said Ek, and used to serve up local music recommendations.
Ek’s public apology may not completely appease critics — he did admit that the company is sharing some data with third parties, but insisted that most of it is depersonalized. However, the blog post also gives us a few hints about features Spotify is thinking about rolling out in the future.
One example: voice search and control. Said Ek: “Many people like to use Spotify in a hands-free way, and we may build voice controls into future versions of the product that will allow you to skip tracks, or pause, or otherwise navigate the app.”
Spotify isn’t the first company that has come under scrutiny for forcing users to agree to far-reaching data collection policies. Ride-sharing app Uber, for example, came under fire last fall for asking users for the right to access a plethora of data sources, including a user’s camera, Wi-Fi network names and caller IDs. Google is trying to make this process more transparent to users by adding more granular app permissions to the next version of Android.