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Spotify Becomes Spotispy with Secret Tracking Cookie

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By: Corey Tate
August 2, 2011
How can a great Spotify US launch start to roll downhill so fast? Spotify took over the music world a few weeks ago when they officially launched their US service, now we've had two bad things happen ... namely a new secret tracking Spotify cookie and a Spotify lawsuit for patent infringement.

The secret Spotify cookie come courtesy of Kissmetrics, who turns Spotify into Spotispy with a rogue cookie that cannot be disabled, even when the user resorts to meaures like turning off cookies in their browser, using any kind of private browsing mode or "do not track" features. Basically if you try to shut it off, it still keeps following you.

The scoop belongs to a team of researchers at UC Berkley, who have gone as far as to publish a research paper on how the Spotify cookie from Kissmetrics kisses you with a lack of privacy control. It turns out that Hulu was using this as well.

"We take the privacy of our users incredibly seriously and are concerned by this report. As a result, we have taken immediate action in suspending our use of Kissmetrics whilst the situation is investigated," is the response from Spotify. They're currently looking into the matter and have yet to determine what the implications are.

The Spotify cookie allows, and to share information with each other about the user. What the Kissmetrics cookie does is still up in the air. It looks like everyone got caught either red-handed on this one, or completely unaware of the specifics how the Kissmetric technology works. Either way, the news is bad.

The Spotify U.S. launch happened back in early July, as an invite only service. They've started out with a two-tiered approach to a Spotify subscription: an unlimited and ad-free service for $5 a month and a Spotify Premium service for $10 a month.

Check out more about steaming music sites in the Spacelab Streaming Music Guide.


Tags: Spotify, Digital Music News

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