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Edison Mail & Others Selling User Data – Shocked?

In a huge, shocking surprise to certainly not me, it’s been found a 3rd party email program, Edison Mail has been selling your data. And in another earth shattering surprise, they aren’t the only one!!


Edison Mail Is Free – But How?

Simple, they profit off selling your data, as has now been revealed. Luring people in with simple yet useful features such as quick contacts and auto-completing phrases, they then mine your messages for information such as, “consumer purchase metric including brand loyalty, wallet share, purchase preferences etc,”. That was disclosed by JP Morgan, a happy customer of Edison Mail, who if you dig deep enough, you’ll find out sells YOUR data to finance, travel and e-commerce companies who are eager for that tasty, tasty Big Data love. 

Now, like most companies, they disclose this.. but in Hitchiker Guide To The Galaxy style of in an unlit basement with no stairs, in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard. Some articles have pointed out that they do extensively detail the use of this data and that they share it wth their “partners”on their site, but fail to disclose they “sell” that information. 

What bloody difference does that make? I don’t care if they are making money off the data… ok, I do.. but the point is this anger should start with the fact they are scraping your email for information in the first place! What they hell did you think they were scraping it and had partners for in the first place? To have CEO’s have a Kum Ba Yah sing along around the fire one night and share their morally pure insights about you? No, it’s about the damn money of course! This is classic Big Data crap, and everyone still seems to act surprised when we catch these asshats with their hand in the cookie jar, AGAIN. Six months later, another “great such and such” pops up, hundred of thousands of downloads later it’s discovered they were selling your data.. collective freak out. 

Rinse, repeat. 

Another app, Cleanfox, by the entirely not surprisingly named and explicitly Big Data product company Foxintelligence, has customers such as PayPal, Bain & Company, and McKinsey & Company. Applets such as Rakuten’s Slice have also found to be scraping data. And we certainly can’t forget the absolute king of all of this, Google. They seemingly get found out year of year selling your data, just after saying that they don’t

Edison Mail Pretty But Dangerous

What a pretty interface… too bad that hides some damned ugly business practices.

For the 1, 345, 367, 334 Time, Free is NOT FREE

I’ve discussed this till I was blue, green, red, and pink with purple polkadots in the face.. free is never FREE. A capitalistic product exists for one reason, to generate revenue. For this reason, there must be a revenue model, one that pays for the employees wages, the R&D, marketing; and if you are going to offer your product for free, you’d better have ANOTHER way of making money. I don’t know any developer that works for free, executives volunteering their time, free advertising, do you? 

In this day and age there are many more ways of doing that then straight up charging for a product. Some companies are much more underhanded then others though, making deception their entire business models… like Edison Mail and those others. Big Data is BIG money, so it’s not surprising that companies would sprout up and take advantage of it. You and I as consumers have to be more aware of this simple, modern day fact. 

Do you know who else offers a fantastic, FREE email app? Apple. 

“Oh! But you just said free is free! GOTCHA!!”

Yup, ya got me! But how is Apple able to offer Mail for free? The same way it offers Mac OS X for free, by generating earth shattering profits from selling incredible hardware like iPhones, iPads and Macs. Increasingly though, their profits are generated by their amazing services as well, like iCloud, App Store, subscriptions and more. Because of these clearly visible revenue sources, Apple doesn’t need to rely on selling your data, unlike some other advertising companies who entirly business relies on generating obscene amounts of Big Data. 

So, you have access to a fully private, high quality, feature rich Mail program that comes FREE on your Apple devices. Why the hell would you even consider take the risk of your privacy being sold for a few minor features? 

Some folks seemingly don’t care, and most of them are Android users. 

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Ryszard (Rick) Gold, From Calgary, Alberta, Canada has over 20 years of experience working with Apple products in a technical capacity. Passionate about technology in general, his natural troubleshooting abilities, curiosity and appreciation of good design lead him into working exclusively with Apple Computer products.
Ryszard Gold
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