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Technology These email apps are scraping information from your inbox and selling the data for a profit

18:10  11 february  2020
18:10  11 february  2020 Source:   businessinsider.com

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Several email apps scrape the contents of people's inboxes and sell that data to finance and e -commerce companies, according to a new Motherboard report. The apps are primarily interested in tracking "transaction data ," gleaning information from receipts and shipping emails that show

Sadly, scraping data from the inbox and selling it for profit is apparently a common way for these Edison has responded to the allegations. They don’t completely deny scraping information from Are you comfortable with email apps scraping your Inbox ? Share your thoughts in the comments

a hand holding a cell phone© Jeff Chiu/AP
  • Several email apps scrape the contents of people's inboxes and sell that data to finance and e-commerce companies, according to a new Motherboard report.
  • The apps are primarily interested in tracking "transaction data," gleaning information from receipts and shipping emails that show people's consumer behavior.
  • The apps then sell that data to third-party companies that use the information to make investment decisions.
  • Email apps scraping peoples' inboxes for profit include Edison, Cleanfox, and Slice.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Several email productivity apps, popular for offering people tools to organize their inbox, are scanning the content of users' emails and selling that data to clients for profit, according to a new report by Motherboard's Joseph Cox.

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The first email app Motherboard highlights in its report as using scraping to sell personal data is Edison. Some users might not mind their inboxes being scraped and data sold in exchange for free There are two reasons why this mission is critical — 1) consumers need to have a choice for a

An eye-opening report reveals that popular iOS and Android email apps that claim to put "privacy-first" are scraping data from users' inbox and sell them for a profit . One such popular third-party email service is Edison Email which was found selling anonymized data and analytics scraped from users'

The apps, whose data-selling practices Motherboard learned about from confidential documents, include Edison, Cleanfox, and Slice.

Edison's website says it "accesses and processes" people's emails, and Cleanfox and Slice offer similar disclaimers. More specifically, the companies scan users' inboxes for emails that include receipts or shipping notifications to track the items users are purchasing and how much they're spending.

The apps then sell anonymized or pseudonymized versions of that information to clients that are interested in consumer trends, like finance and e-commerce companies.

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which “ scrapes users’ email inboxes and sells products based off that information to clients in the finance, travel, and e -Commerce sectors.” shows that the company’s real business is not in providing a free email client, but rather in selling the data that it can obtain from the users of its email app .

apps on the Apple app store, scrapes users' email inboxes and sells products based off that information to know that when using the Edison app the company scrapes their inbox for profit . "An email obtained by Motherboard appeared to show the price for access to Rakuten data for one

An Edison spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider that it uses software that "automatically recognizes commercial emails and extracts purchase information from them," ignoring "personal and work email."

A spokesperson for Rakuten, the company that owns Slice, told Business Insider that the company tells its users that it is collecting their data for market research and that the company values "the protection of consumer privacy."

In an email to Business Insider, Foxintelligence CEO Edouard Nattée emphasized that the company discloses to new users that it uses anonymized data from "transactional emails."

"What we do is precisely the opposite of what companies like Facebook or Google are doing. We are building a model where the users get a free product and still, the user doesn't become the product," Nattée said.

While each of the three companies highlighted that the data being collected is anonymized or pseudonymized, multiple recent studies by computer science researchers have called the notion of anonymized data into question - in most cases, researchers found that anonymous data stolen in breaches could be easily tied back to specific people with relatively high certainty.

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