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Safety in silence

In response to the high number of pedestrian deaths caused when people cross the road while wearing their headphones, Spotify has introduced a new feature in some markets that spots the streaming service’s mobile app from playing music when the listener approaches dangerous intersections. By tapping into the iBeacon technology installed at some of the worst intersections, the app is able to adjust the volume of the music when needed. In doing so, the app causes the Spotify user to pay attention and exercise caution when crossing the road.          

According to the video, data shows that nearly half of the pedestrians killed in road accidents last year were wearing headphones when they were knocked over, making this a significant problem. And like many other issues caused by digital technology, Spotify has found a suitable digital solution to ensure that its subscribers can continue walking around with their headphones on without fear of being run over at any given moment.  

And while the feature is certainly useful in keeping pedestrians safe, it also comes with a sinister side in that it effectively allows Spotify to track the movements of its listeners.    

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