SPOTIFY ALREADY KNOWS enough to blackmail your if it wanted. Yes, you may claim to exclusively listen to the Velvet Underground, but Spotify knows about your secret B*Witched fandom. And now it wants to know where you live, too.
The reasoning is actually quite reasonable, even if the methods are a privacy nightmare. The Premium Family pricing tier allows up to six people to share an account for £14.99 per month, with the only stipulation being that they share an address. 'Scouts honour' counts for nothing these days, and plenty of people are ignoring that one rule, potentially getting a Premium ad-free account for £2.50 each.
As a result, there's been a change to the terms and conditions, as spotted by CNET. The new terms say that Spotify will take location data "from time to time" to make sure subscribers really do live in the same house.
Apparently, when you sign up for a family plan, Spotify will ask everyone included to provide their home address or to enable location services for the app on whatever device they're listening on.
"Once verification of a family member's home address is completed, we do not store their location data or track their location at any time," a spokesperson told CNET. "This data is encrypted and can be edited by the plan owner as needed. The location data that is collected during Premium Family account creation is only used by Spotify for that purpose."
While that's mildly reassuring, it butters no parsnips with Privacy International. "The changes to the policy allow Spotify to arbitrarily use the location of an individual to ascertain if they continue to reside at the same address when using a family account, and it's unclear how often Spotify will query users' devices for this information," said the technology lead for the watchdog, Christopher Weatherhead, highlighting the "worrying privacy implications."
Still, it's an interesting case study in whether you really can put a price on privacy. After all, a regular Premium account with no such requirements in the small print is available for £9.99 per month. Is it worth that much to you? µ
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