Popular email applications like Edison, CleanFox and Slice have been accused of selling information scraped from users’ inboxes without their knowledge.
According to a report from Motherboard, the information collected by Edison was sold to companies involved in different businesses like e-commerce, Finance, travel, and others. Edison, on its homepage, boasts that it offers, “No Ads, Just Mail.”
In most cases, users were not aware that their data was being sold on, showing a worrying lack of clarity across many of the email providers.
- Keep your browsing secure with the best VPN of 2020
- Why email attacks should be your number one security concern
- Best email clients of 2020: Free and paid apps and software
Foxintelligence sells similar data scraped from an app called Cleanfox and has brands like Paypal, Bain & Company, and McKinsey & Company as its clients. It’s COO, Florian Cleyet-Merle accepted that it has been collecting user data and states that "From a higher perspective, we believe crowd-sourced transaction data has a transformational power both for consumers and for companies and that a marketplace where value can be created for both sides without making any compromise on privacy is possible."
An app called Slice from Rakuten helps customers track packages and offer price alerts. It was found selling data like the name and brand of the product bought by the use, price, amount paid, and a unique identification number for each buyer. In the case of Slice, users were not aware that the company is selling their data, claimed the research. In fact, the company just last month introduced an ‘opt-out’ mechanism on its website.
Edison, in response to the above report, has responded saying that in order to keep the application free from advertisements, it only extracts anonymous e-commerce related commercial transactions and has a system in place to “ignore personal and work email, which does not help us measure market trends.”
- Check out the best email providers in 2020