Spotify’s first big advertising launch of the year – which has seen the streaming giant expand its ad targeting from music lovers to podcast fans – has been overshadowed by a fresh investigation into whether the firm is in breach of GDPR.
Following an official complaint, the Swedish regulator has rifled off a raft of questions to Spotify over its data collection and right of access policies, giving the company just two weeks to respond.
The Swedish Data Inspection Authority (SDIA) is demanding to know what data the company gathers from consumers, how it is handled and what information it releases when customers file a subject access request (SAR).
The probe follows initial complaints filed in January against Spotify and seven other tech giants – Amazon Prime, Apple Music, Netflix, SoundCloud, YouTube, DAZN and Flimmit – which provide streaming services.
Privacy group NOYB – set up by Facebook nemesis and Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems – claims that the companies fail to be upfront about what customer data they collect and what they use it for.
It has been claimed that most of the services set up automated systems to respond to access requests from customers, with no intention of providing the data every user has a right to see.
The new complaint, filed by NOYB supporter and fellow Austrian Peter Steinberger, comes after Steinberger chronicled his experience getting data from Spotify on Twitter.
Even after he obtained his data from Spotify, the files needed to be deciphered – or “parsed” – before they could even be read.
The move comes as the company launches a new podcast listeners’ advertising data tool in the UK, North America, Mexico, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Australia.
Although Spotify first introduced podcasts in 2015, it has pledged to increase spending this year in order to tap into the booming sector. In “select markets”, advertisers will be able to target those who listen to specific categories such as comedy, business, and lifestyle and health; Samsung is already testing the tool.
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