Email Productivity Applications Collect Users’ Personal Information to Sell to Third Parties

There are many email productivity applications that help manage and organize your inbox. While useful, they come at a costly price for your privacy. According to Motherboard’s Joseph Cox, many of these apps can scan through people’s emails and sell their data for profit. Some worth mentioning include Cleanfox, Slice, and Edison. On Edison’s website, the company states that it “accesses and processes” users’ emails, this similar statement used for the apps Cleanfox and Slice.

These types of applications scan people’s personal inboxes for emails that contain information such as package tracking notifications and receipts to record how much people spend as well as what they are purchasing. Once this data is collected, these application companies sell this information to e-commerce and finance companies that have an interest in such trends. However, they sell an anonymous version of the information. 

A spokesperson from Edison told Business Insider that their software “automatically recognizes commercial emails and extracts purchase information,” while disregarding any emails that include personal or work related matters. Slice’s parent company, Rakuten, stated that the reason as to why they collect people’s data is for market research purposes and – contrary to what we may believe – that they do value protecting their users’ privacy. 

Foxintelligence’s CEO Edouard Nattée stated in an email to Business Insider that new users are notified when their data is pulled from “transactional emails”, further stating that the information collected remains anonymous. While anonymized data may seem secure, data breaches that give access to the exact data can help cybercriminals trace information back to its original source. 

Facebook Changes User Email Addresses

Facebook users discovered over the weekend that their listed email addresses have all changed to “@facebook.com”.  Facebook made the change without making an announcement or asking for permission. In addition, users were not alerted about the change after it had taken place. As a result of the change, users either have email addresses ending in “@facebook.com” or their email addresses have been hidden completely. 
Fortunately, you can choose to not have your “@facebook.com” address listed. If you want to change your email address back to your original one go to your profile, click “Update info”, scroll down to “Contact Info” and click “Edit”. Select with whom you want to share each individual email address and to the right of that you can choose whether you want to display your email address on your timeline or not.

To Organize, Or Not To Organize?

A study conducted by IBM Research has found that people who organize their emails into folders have a more difficult time finding what they are looking for than those who do no organization at all.

Users who did no filing were able to find what they were looking for faster by using search tools. Not only did the non-organizers save time when searching, they also eliminate the time spent on organizing.

The study suggests keeping conversations in existing threads instead of beginning new ones to keep your inbox neat.

The formula for success is simple: remain unorganized! Don’t make folders and keep conversations in the same thread.

To view the PDF version of the study, CLICK HERE.