Spotify: I know where my friends are, thanks

I think we are done sharing now

Spotify has upset users by asking them to share address book contacts, photos and GPS location with the app and cede control of their device’s microphone in order to use the service. A Twitterstorm — and high-profile criticism from vocal netizens such as Minecraft co-founder Markus Persson — forced the streaming music service to apologise and clarify its position. Users can opt in to divulging this data, it seems.

Spotify is already hated by recording artists and labels, because of its derisory royalty payments. The users were the only people rooting for it. Now they hate it, too.

“In the future, we may want to give you the ability to find your friends on Spotify,” CEO Daniel Ek wrote on his blog. But is that really what anyone wants to do? It seems like a relic from a decade ago. Meanwhile, the draconian terms agreement fools no one: “Please consider not being evil,” Persson wrote.

I think we are done handing over our personal information to app companies. They have shown they cannot be responsible with the data and cannot secure it. Meanwhile Edward Snowden has shown us that such data is likely to be harvested and mined by the security agencies of governments we may or may not have elected.

We will find more private ways to connect and we will reject online services that force us publicly to share what we are reading, playing, listening to and so on. We flirted with open sharing. But post-Snowden, I think that love affair is over. Further information will be granted on a need-to-know basis.

And your record player doesn’t need to know.

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