IF YOU'RE anything like us (that is to say "us writers", we're not suggesting you're a sarcastically toned middle-aged tech website) then your inbox is probably bursting with emails that you have absolutely no use for.
One of the most popular tools for managing your inbox is Unroll.me, which allows you to either unsubscribe or "roll" your mail up into a single daily digest.
In a mea culpa blog post this week, CEO Jojo Hedaya has written to customers after it came to light that it has been selling user data. But at the same time making very clear that it's there, buried in the terms and conditions and they're going to keep doing it and we shouldn't actually be surprised.
The post entitled "we can do better" describes Hedaya being "heartbroken" at the discovery (not the act, mind - the discovery) and confirms that yes, that's how the service is financed (at least since it was bought by Slice Intelligence in 2014) and that's how it will stay managed.
myself included - don't take the time to thoroughly review them."
Ah yes - the old "it's our fault, but it's really yours" stance.
Of course, there's no option to opt out of this data harvesting, after all, Slice Intelligence has a big blurb on the website saying
"Direct measurement of all aspects of every purchase yields the most complete and accurate data available about what people buy, where they shop, what they spend, how they pay and how these behaviours change over time."
In other words, as Unroll.me was sold to a data harvester, then they're going to use the product for data harvesting. The issue here is that it was a fundamental change that probably predates a lot of users first signing up for the service, so even if they did dig through the T&Cs they wouldn't necessarily have done it post sellout.
"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." says Hedaya.
There's a promise to make things clearer "in the app and FAQs" but really with something this fundamental, the only acceptable solution is to make it big, bold, flashing in a single line "this app harvests anonymous user data" on every page.
But the fact is, this IS happening. And when you put it in perspective - the New York Times suggests that your Lyft receipts could be anonymised and sold to Uber, the bastion by which all ethical trading isn't measured - then you get the picture that this is a pretty murky world.
In a way, Jojo (who is a bloke, in case you were wondering) is right. It's like when people complain about our adverts. How do people think we're funded? Scotch mist? But at least we're open about it (let's face it, if we hid our adverts, it would rather defeat the point).
So, it's up to you. We're not saying never use Unroll.me again, but go in with open eyes. And if you do want to delete your account, then there's a guide here. µ
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