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The CEO of email decluttering service Unroll.me says he is heartbroken that his customer didn’t know their private data was being sold off to third parties.
The service, which allows users to delete email subscription en masse, has been collecting and selling off its user’s sensitive information, according to a report from the New York Times. It skims through its customer’s emails, collects private data, makes it anonymous, and puts it up for purchase. Unroll.me is even said to have collected email receipts from Lyft and sold them off to Uber. It confirmed that it collects both Uber and Lyft receipt data, but didn’t say who it sells that information to, according to Business Insider.
The company’s CEO wrote an apology letter titled “We Can Do Better” to his customers, claiming the terms were not “explicit enough.”
“Our users are the heart of our company and service. So it was heartbreaking to see that some of our users were upset to learn about how we monetize our free service.”
CEO Jojo Hedaya follows this up with another not-so-sympathetic statement.
Users’ responses to the post were hostile at best.
One customer commented, “You have to be kidding right? You took my data and sold it to Uber and God knows who else… you can take your “apology” and shove it. It’s people like you Jojo who make humanity look worse and worse every day.”
And another, “Already uninstalled. You don’t get too steal my private data. F*** you and your crappy product. Hope your business fails tremendously.”
As always, Twitter is having a field day with the incident.
VERY disappointed with @Unrollme. Turns out it's a toxic and deceptive company with a toxic culture.— Lin Zagorski (@lin_zagorski) April 24, 2017
Here is Hedaya’s full “apology” letter:
Our users are the heart of our company and service. So it was heartbreaking to see that some of our users were upset to learn about how we monetize our free service.
And while we try our best to be open about our business model, recent customer feedback tells me we weren’t explicit enough.
myself included – don’t take the time to thoroughly review them.
So we need to do better for our users, and will from this point forward, with clearer messaging on our website, in our app, and in our FAQs. We will also be more clear about our data usage in our on-boarding process. The rest will remain the same: providing a killer service that gives you hours back in your day while protecting your privacy and security above all else.
I can’t stress enough the importance of your privacy. We never, ever release personal data about you. All data is completely anonymous and related to purchases only. To get a sense of what this data looks like and how it is used, check out the Slice Intelligence blog.
Thank you for being such an important part of our company. If there’s more we can be doing better, please let me know.
H/T the Guardian
Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.