Is Unroll.Me Safe to Use?
The service has helped hundreds of thousands of users to clear their email from unnecessary mailings. In the seventh year of the project’s existence, The New York Times wrote about it in passing and started a storm of criticism. As it turned out, Unroll.Me has been selling the contents of other people’s emails to interested companies.
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Just a few sentences in the newspaper were enough for the media to start calling on users to abandon the service, and its CEO had to apologize and say that he was sorry that this can happened.
Despite this, many still use Unroll.Me and advise their friends to sort mail messages using the service. But is Unroll.Me safe to use?
Today we’ll tell you a little more about this service, so that everyone can decide for themselves whether to use it or not.
Previously, we’ve considered the AdGuard service. You can find out more about our conclusions in this article.
What is it?
The service allows you to get rid of unnecessary emails and spam that so often come to our mail. The service analyzes all the addresses you are subscribed to and allows you to unsubscribe from unnecessary ones in one click.
The free service appeared in 2011. It was recommended by CNET and was recognized at the prestigious Webby Awards. In three years, the audience of Unroll.Me reached 1.3 million users. In November 2014, it was bought by Slice; then, the monetization of the service began.
Unroll.Me works like this: the user gives access to their email (it can be Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo or iCloud), after which the service scans all incoming emails and finds mass mailings. This can be, for example, messages, emails from online stores, or alerts from social networks.
The service scans your mailbox and selects several parameters among the mail messages. After that, you can, firstly, unsubscribe from them directly via the service with one click. Secondly, your mailing list messages will be automatically marked with the label Unroll.Me and archived, and instead of receiving each of them separately, a digest with a selection of all mailings will come once a day.
You open each email in your browser on the site Unroll.Me – it’s not always convenient, but there doesn’t seem to be any other way. At the same time, all messages are also in your mailbox. Individual mailings that you still want to receive immediately can be removed from the digest – they will appear in the inbox as before.
Do you use MediaFire? Learn more about its safety here.
Service security scandal
On April 23, 2017, The New York Times, in an article about the company “Uber,” talked about how the Unroll.Me service actually works. It was said that the taxi-hailing service Uber bought receipts, that were collected by Unroll.Me, which Uber’s competitor Lyft had emailed to its customers.
The newspaper emphasized that the data from Unroll.Me was depersonalized before the sale. Despite this, many users of the service were outraged that their data was being traded. The Intercept released a note with the headline “Stop using Unroll.Me right now. The service sold your data to Uber.” At the same time, an instruction appeared on CNET explaining how to delete your account on Unroll.Me.
The dissatisfaction of users was so strong that the co-founder and CEO of Unroll.Me, Jojo Hedaya, had to speak in the blog of the service with the post “We can be better.” Hedaya wrote that “It was heartbreaking to see the outrage of some users learning how we are monetizing our free service.”
Unfortunately, he never once mentioned that user data is sold to third-party companies but acknowledged that the company needs to communicate more clearly how it makes money.
“Everything else will be the same: we will provide a service that will save you a few hours of life and at the same time protect your data,” Hedaya wrote in a blog post.
At the same time, on the HackerNews forum, web developer Karl Katzke said that the company he worked for wanted to buy Unroll.Me more than three years ago. But in the end they abandoned this idea, as the service had security problems: it stored copies of all its users’ emails on poorly protected servers. In a conversation with The Intercept, Katzke clarified that his information should be taken as “third-party rumors.”
The service commented the statement by Karl Katzke and called it “one hundred percent untruth.”
On Twitter, the company continued to reassure users that everything was fine. In particular, a loud statement was made that “Gmail knows much more about you than we do.”
Know more about Aomei safety measures here.
Conclusion: Is Unroll.Me safe?
In fact, the service notified users about selling their data, but no one read the user agreement: not everyone was interested in reading 5,000 words. After that, users quickly found a hidden deception: on perhaps the 15th page of the agreement was a notice that the service can sell users’ data. It is interesting that at the first registration, Unroll.Me promises “not to touch your personal data.”
Also, the service hasn’t a two-factor authentication for additional account protection and scan your email to connect with other accounts.
The only right thing you can do right now is to delete this service from your computer.
Here is an instruction on how to do it quickly:
Step #1: Enter your name and passwords to open your existed account.
Step #2: Choose the “Hamburger” icon.
Step #3: Find the “Settings” option.
Step #4: Find and select the “Delete my account” option.
Then, the service asks you whether you want to delete the account or not and the reason why. After that you should confirm the action and click on “Delete My Account.”
*Note: Technically, the platform still has open access to your existing email account.
So, to prevent data leaks, you should close the access manually:
Step #1: Add your email.
Step #2: Open the Security feature.
Step #3: Choose the “Manage third-party access” option and find the service here.
Step #4: Find highlight and choose “Remove Access.”
That’s all. Now your account is untied from this service.
Unroll.me scans users’ email and then sells the information from it to other companies on request. Even though the company itself assured that all data is transmitted anonymously, this service still does not deserve users’ trust.
Choose decentralized email and forget about spam and data leaks!