Spotify play it free and easy with the Data Protection Act
There's a new social media network out there for the kids. It's called a serious breach of data protection laws. Not a sexy name, but here's how it works - just submit your email address to a company, and wait for some ten-thumbed prick to cut and paste your address into the CC box of an email, along with hundreds of others. Boom! Dozens of strangers have your personal details and the company in question drives a tank through the Data Protection Act.
It worked for customers of Orange, and now Spotify have done much the same thing. Avid Bitterwallet reader Jack has been in touch about a joint promotion Spotify are running in conjunction with TalkTalk - entrants submit a favourite Spotify track and their email address, and winners receive a premium subscription to Spotify. Not that you have to win to receive a prize - yesterday, Jack was lucky enough to get a mailing list of over 240 email addresses, all CC'd into an email sent by Spotify. Obviously he was less than delighted to note his own address amongst those distributed to all recipients.
This isn't just an inconvenience, or an irritation - it's a breach of the law. And of course, Spotify took the matter very serious, and certainly didn't just knock out a trite email to anybody who complained in the vain hope they didn't take the matter further:
Spotify would like to apologise for the previous email you received today regarding the current TalkTalk competition. Spotify inadvertently copied all users who requested information on the promotion into the same field, which exposed your email address to others.
Privacy is of the utmost importance to Spotify and we'll be reviewing our processes to ensure this type of error will not happen again.
The Spotify team
Plenty of those who received the email are now co-ordinating plans to complain to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) about the breach. Some just want a free Spotify subscription for their trouble. Of course mistakes happen, but when they're mistakes that break the law, there needs to be some gesture by the guilty party beyond a piss-poor excuse. Over to you, Spotify.