Beware-Free Services like Unroll.Me Are Collecting and Selling Your Information

Uber was under the radar for past few months for practising tactics that were questionable. Digging deeper into what Uber was doing to gain intelligence on its rival Lyft, it came out that there was another company called Slice Intelligence that was helping Uber in its endeavour. It was involved in mining and selling the email data of its customers and Uber was making use of it.

This company was using a program called Unroll.me, which is an email management program. It offers free service to unsubscribe from various unwanted email lists. It can also scour the inboxes of the customers for receipts from rivals and then sell that information. Though the company kept the data anonymous still, it is considered as a breach of trust by the users.

Slice Intelligence, the data firm picked up receipts of services like Lyft from the users’ inboxes and sold that anonymized data to Uber, which Uber used to its advantage. When it was revealed that Slice Intelligence has scoured the inboxes without the users’ knowledge, the users expressed their anger against the company.

The chief executive of Unroll.me, Jojo Hedaya, however, said that the company was always open about its practice in the past, but still apologised to the users. He said, “It was heartbreaking to see that some of our users were upset. Recent customer feedback tells me we weren’t explicit enough.”

Actually, what Unroll.me did cannot be termed as an anomaly in this expansive and unregulated world of selling personal data that is collected by various online consumer services. Since it adhered to its privacy policy and did not disclose any personal information like names, it is considered fair to sell such anonymized data in this world. But those against it advocates that in this modern era of data analytics the person’s online behaviour is fine grained to such an extent that the concept of personally identifiable information is nothing but obsolete.

Unroll.me starts with offering an easy way to “clean up your inbox.” Once it gets the service access to the user’s account, it makes a list of all the subscriptions he or she is a part of helping to opt out from the ones they no longer want to receive.

It is not that it did something unethically. It actually gives a choice to agree or not agree to its privacy policy, which states everything but the problem is hardly anyone goes through it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *