Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace and Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine are among more than 180 musicians protesting the approval of new technology from Spotify.
Rage Against the Machine’s guitarist Tom Morello said: “You can’t rock out when you’re under constant corporate surveillance. Spotify needs to drop this right now and do right by musicians, music fans, and all music workers.”
The company’s artificial intelligence-based technology could detect things like emotional state, gender, age and accent and use them as a basis for recommending music, which Access Now – (a non-profit organisation that defends and extends the digital rights of people around the world) say is dangerous and a violation of privacy and other human rights.
“You can’t rock out when you’re under constant corporate surveillance. Spotify needs to drop this right now and do right by musicians, music fans, and all music workers.” Tom MorelloTweet
In response to pressure from the digital rights campaigners, Spotify said that it “has never implemented the technology described in the patent in any of our products, and we have no plans to do so”.
But Access Now wants the company to go further. It said: “While Access Now is pleased to hear that Spotify has no current plans to deploy the technology, Access Now calls on Spotify to make a public commitment never to use, license, sell, or monetise the technology.”
Another of those supporting the Stop Spotify Surveillance campaign is the queer indie-punk musician Evan Greer. Her latest album, Spotify is Surveillance, is out now on Get Better and Don Giovanni and includes the song Surveillance Capitalism.
The letter asks Spotify to publicly respond to the signatories request by May 18, 2021.
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I’m a punk rock aficionado, martial arts pupil and fair-to-middling student of the Bengali language. I’m also a journalist, writer and editor, specialising in medicine and technology.
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