Unroll.me CEO issues 'apology' following backlash for selling user data to Uber

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

Uber wasn’t the only company to suffer PR damage from the recent New York Times article on CEO Travis Kalancik. The piece also revealed that email decluttering service Unroll.me has been mining your messages and selling this data to the ride-hailing firm, leading to one of the worst non-apologies ever released – even by CEO standards.

Unroll.me owner Slice Intelligence collected customers’ emailed Lyft receipts from their inboxes and sold the information to Uber for an undisclosed fee, according to the Times. Slice has since confirmed it collects receipt data from both Lyft and Uber but didn’t say who it sells it to.

Responding to the anger expressed by Uroll.me users, CEO Jojo Hedaya posted an apology titled ‘We can do better’ to the company blog. He called the reaction to the Times piece “heartbreaking,” but didn’t actually say sorry; instead, he appears to blame customers for not reviewing the ToS agreement closely enough.

And while we try our best to be open about our business model, recent customer feedback tells me we weren’t explicit enough. Sure we have a Terms of Service Agreement and a plain-English Privacy Policy that our users agree they have read and understand before they even sign up, but the reality is most of us - myself included - don't take the time to thoroughly review them.

Surprisingly, people aren’t reacting well to this sorry not sorry message. Much like HP’s apology for blocking third-party ink cartridges last year, Unroll.me is only apologizing for not being more explicit about their shady practice.

As noted by The Verge, many people who use Unroll.me are now demanding their data be destroyed after they delete their accounts. The company hasn’t said if it will do so.

Yes, Unroll.me isn’t the first free service that sells anonymized customer data, and it won’t be the last. But as one user wrote: "Pretty simple solution. Just put "We read your email and sell the data we gather" in your signup form, then put the remainder of the explanation in your privacy policy.”

"Anyone who reads the full privacy policy, understands what you're doing with their data and is cool with that, will be fine sticking with the service. Which in theory is everyone you want to sign up anyway."

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
Another case of apology "after the fact" .... when will the courts decide to criminalize this kind of activity and hold the corporate officers directly responsible?
 
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Reactions: BSim500 and p51d007

p51d007

TS Evangelist
I find it ironic, that you have a program, that "helps" you to get rid of the annoying junk mail, that
then in turn, sells your information, which will cause you to get more junk mail, in which you use
their service to get rid of.
Kind of an endless stream of business, for that software.
 

seefizzle

TS Evangelist
Unroll.me was slightly useful. Not useful enough that I feel like having my "email data" sold to third parties.
 
R

Raoul Duke

Another case of apology "after the fact" .... when will the courts decide to criminalize this kind of activity and hold the corporate officers directly responsible?
never, the system is rigged, no one that would change this kind of activity has a chance of actually getting into a position that they could do it. I really hate to be so cynical, but I don't know how anyone could follow this kind of stuff and end up optimistic about the human condition.
But the cheque will arrive, there is food in the fridge, car in the driveway, so.............