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Spotify needs to crack down on labels snatching user data – TechCrunch

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Spotify seems to have learned little from the Facebook developer platform’s scandals despite getting a huge boost from the social network in its early days. Spotify has been caught allowing record labels to grab tons of unnecessary user data and permissions to even control their accounts just so people can “pre-save” upcoming song releases.

An investigation by Billboard’s Micah Singleton found major label Sony’s app for pre-saving demanded access to users’ email address, what you’ve listened to and saved to your library, playlists you’ve made or subscribed to, artists you follow, and what you’re playing right now. It also asks to be able to take actions on your behalf including change who you follow, add or remove songs from your library, create/edit/follow playlists, and even control Spotify on your devices.

An example of Universal Music Group’s pre-save app that asks for unnecessary user data and access permissions

This means that by agreeing to use a pre-save feature, a record label could index you music tastes and determine your current mood for marketing purposes, subscribe you to all of their artists and playlists, force you to create playlists that include their artists or add them to your existing playlists, and delete or unfollow any music or artists represented by their competitors.

Since users often speed through platform app permission screens assuming they’re just asking for what’s required, many likely gave up valuable data about themselves and the ability to manipulate their accounts without fully understanding what was happening. Other major labels like Warner and Universal’s pre-save apps like this one similarly ask for 10 types of permission — most extraneous.

In reality, the only permission a pre-save app should need is to be able to add the song you wanted to pre-save to your library. Anything else is theoretically prohibited by Spotify’s developer policy section 5.2: “You will only request the data you need to operate your Spotify Developer Application.” If you’ve used these apps, you can go into your Spotify account settings here to remove their access.

In a post-Cambridge Analytica world, platforms like Spotify should know better than to let developers run amok without proper oversight. That’s why I was so disappointed when Spotify refused to provide a statement, explanation, or even talk with me about the issue.

Offering a flexible developer platform has plenty of advantages for users. Apps for DJing with streaming music, discovering new bands, or synchronizing playback with friends could be built with rightful and transparent use of Spotify’s APIs. But for something as simple and common as volunteering to have a new song from your favorite band show up in your library on the day it’s released shouldn’t become a lure for an exploitative data grab.

That’s why Spotify should build its own in-house pre-save app that labels could all use to pre-promote their releases. Approved labels and their artists should be able to punch in their upcoming single’s Spotify URL and get a shareable link back that they can distribute through social media or wherever that only grants permission to pre-save that specific song, and that expires once that action is completed.

Spotify vs Apple Music Subsscribers

Spotify is widening its subscriber lead over Apple Music

Otherwise, Spotify risks losing all the goodwill its built up with listeners by being a music-first company compared to competitors like Apple and Google where music is a rounding error. Apple Music provides app developers with less data about users.

Just today Apple Music announced it has 60 million subscribers, lagging increasingly further behind Spotify which now has 100 million subscribers and 217 million total monthly users. Spotify already dominates cultural mind share for streaming, having used the playlists it controls to become a hit-maker and gain leverage over the labels for royalty negotiations. But turning a blind eye to shady developers just because they own the music it streams could make listeners question their loyalty and stray to Apple, which is notoriously serious about privacy.

If Spotify is unwilling to push back on data abuse by its record label partners, then it’s undeserving of users’ ears and subscription dollars.

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12 Best Uses For Old Computer Keyboards

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Maybe you want to wear your love of keyboards on your sleeve, but earrings and charm bracelets are just a little too ostentatious for your taste. Enter the subtler and more stylish buttons and cufflinks. Not only is this a more discreet way of keeping your old keyboard close, but it’s also among the easiest projects we have for you.

You’ll only need a few supplies, at least one of which you already have at hand. There aren’t any scissors or saws, and you won’t be using any power tools. All you need is your old keyboard, an adhesive like epoxy, and the base of a cufflink or button, both of which you can find at your local craft store or online.

Before you get started, however, take a moment to inspect your keyboard. Consider the wide array of buttons, each with its own special function. Now choose your favorites. Those are the keys you want to carefully remove. If you’re making cufflinks, you’ll need at least two keys. If you’re making buttons, the sky’s the limit.

Now take out a flathead screwdriver — the only tool you’re going to need — and pop the keys you’ve chosen off of the keyboard frame. Once you’ve got them all liberated, generously apply adhesive to the back side of each key and jam the cufflink or button base right in there. Wait for it to cure and you’re ready to attach them to your favorite threads.

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28% Of Car Lovers Most Want To Own This Banned Vehicle

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In a SlashGear poll with 590 U.S. respondents, 27.97% said they would love to own Lamborghini Diablo Strosek. The Italian supercar is not street legal in the U.S. because it’s too fast. If pushed to the limit, the Lamborghini Diablo can exceed 200 mph — this made it the fastest car when it was released in 1990. But it was a German designer known as Vittorio Strosek who modified it and made it even more difficult for it to pass the FMVSS regulations. Because of the 25-year rule, you’re only allowed to import a Lamborghini Diablo that was produced between 1990 to 1997.

The second most popular option in the poll was the Porsche 959, which was picked by 25.25% of the respondents. Just like Lamborghini Diablo, Porsche 959 is super-fast but it doesn’t exceed 200 mph — the best it can do is 198 mph in the Sport variant. However, the real reason Porsche 959 was never sold in the U.S. is that the automaker didn’t want to have its very expensive cars crash tested by NHTSA. Despite the Porsche 959 quickly selling out after it was released, the manufacturer was making a loss selling the car — and if NHTSA crash tested a minimum of four cars, it would have lost more money.

Besides that, 19.83% of the participants said they would prefer Honda ATC and 16.95% wanted Nissan GT-R Skyline. The Smart Crossblade was the least popular option at 10%. 

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The Reason Why NYC Destroys Hundreds Of Dirt Bikes And ATVs Each Year

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In 2021, eight people were killed by dirt bikes or ATVs, and the New York Police Department, along with then-Mayor Bill de Blasio, went on a crusade to get rid of illegal vehicles, according to The City. By the end of the year, the city had seized and subsequently destroyed approximately 500 bikes. As many as 3,000 were ultimately crushed under the tracked wheels of a bulldozer in 2021 (via The City).

When new Mayor Eric Adams took office on January 1, 2022, he continued the fight. By June, they had seized over 2,000 bikes — almost 80% over the number they took by that time the previous year. And there’s no sign of letting up, with the police nabbing more than 250 on a single Sunday in August.

The dirt bikes and ATVs are not street legal to begin with, lacking several required features like turn signals, brake lights, and mirrors. According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, any 1985 or newer motorcycle must be equipped with directional or turn signals that show amber to the front and red or amber to the rear. It must also have an adjustable rear view mirror, a red stop lamp on the back, and a headlamp on the front of the vehicle. None of these things are found on a vast majority of the illegal vehicles that, as Mayor Adams put it, are continuing to terrorize the city.

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