Remember the old adage, there’s no such thing as a free lunch? You could change that to “there’s no such thing as free third-party email apps.”
Yes, these email productivity products are free to use, but there is a price to pay. Business Insider recently noted that apps like Edison, Cleanfox and Slice scrape and sell information from users’ emails. The apps explain that they anonymize or psuedonymize the information so that users are protected.
Third-Party Email Apps' Fine Print
If you use one of these apps, this scraping of your data shouldn’t come as a surprise. The apps state in their agreements that they collect user information. Mainly, they gather data on transactions or purchases users make online--from which retailers and the amount of money spent.
While the apps promise to make the data anonymous, Business Insider notes that computer science research questions the notion of anonymized data. Research has shown that stolen data can typically be tied back to specific people.
Worth the Risk?
Should you use third party email apps? Our recommendation would be no. Or if you do choose to use one with work emails, set up a separate email address for online shopping that isn’t managed by the app.