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Spotify CEO apologizes for controversial new privacy policy

Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek has just published a blog post responding to the wave of confusion and alarm that resulted from the company's newly updated terms and privacy policy. "We should have done a better job in communicating what these policies mean and how any information you choose to share will — and will not — be used," says Ek.

The controversy stirred up largely over the breadth of Spotify's new policy, which states that the company may access your photos, contacts, and other personal data. The whole thing is a bit overblown, but nonetheless Ek is trying to straighten it all out. "We understand people’s concerns about their personal information and are 100 percent committed to protecting our users’ privacy and ensuring that you have control over the information you share."

"We have heard your concerns loud and clear."

Ek notes that users don't have to share every piece of their digital lives with Spotify if they don't wish to. "We will ask for your express permission before accessing any of this data — and we will only use it for specific purposes that will allow you to customize your Spotify experience." The reasons that Spotify may request access to your data all make total sense; photos are used to change your profile photo or add custom artwork to a playlist. And when it comes to location, Spotify says it wants to surface music that's trending around you. Voice? Ek says Spotify may soon build deeper voice controls into the app — and you'll always have the option of disabling the feature.

Ek's explanation is pretty clear and straightforward, and seems to confirm that Spotify isn't really doing anything creepy or out of the ordinary. The company is merely preparing for its future. The privacy policy change has certainly backfired from a PR standpoint; publishing a transparent letter like this alongside the updated text would've been a far wiser move. But Ek's officially on damage control, and he vows that his company will always put user privacy first. Part of that will involve updating the privacy policy (yes, again) in the "coming weeks" so there's no mistaking what Spotify's doing with your information.