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Essential CEO Andy Rubin holds himself responsible for customer data leak, calls it ‘humiliating’

Rubin confirmed that approximately 70 customers were affected by the sloppy confirmation process.

  • Published: August 31, 2017 10:43 AM IST
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Andy Rubin is essentially in trouble. A few days ago, the company sent out emails to people who pre-booked the Essential phone, asking for a copy of their driver’s license, ostensibly to verify their address in an attempt to prevent fraud. Dozens of customers replied with their personal information, but those emails didn’t just go to Essential; they went out to everybody who had received the original email. That means that an unknown number of Essential customers are now in possession of each other’s drivers license, birth date, and address information. That is a colossal screw up, and CEO Andy Rubin realizes that.

Andy Rubin sent out an apology in a blog post, calling it “humiliating” and that he is “personally responsible for this error”. Rubin confirmed that approximately 70 customers were affected by the sloppy confirmation process, and that Essential will offer one year of LifeLock protection to impacted patrons to prevent potential identity theft. The company has also disabled the “misconfigured” account to prevent people from accidentally sharing their personal information with other Essential customers, and Rubin promises to invest in infrastructure and customer care.

“Being a founder in an intensely competitive business means you occasionally have to eat crow. It’s humiliating, it doesn’t taste good, and often, it’s a humbling experience. As Essential’s founder and CEO, I’m personally responsible for this error and will try my best to not repeat it,” Rubin wrote in the blogALSO READ: Andy Rubin’s Essential raises $300 million from Amazon, Foxconn, Tencent

Earlier, people were speculating the email by Essential to be a phishing attempt, as it came across as a weird request for personal information. However, after the email headers were examined, it didn’t look like an actual phishing attempt anymore. Below is the email Essential originally sent out, which was shared by Cygnosity on Reddit:

On Aug 29, 2017, at 9:23 PM, Customer Care customercare@essential.com wrote:

Hi,

Our order review team requires additional verifying information to complete the processing of your recent order.

This verification is performed to protect against unauthorized use of your payment information and similar to what is conducted for in-person purchases.

Please provide an alternative email and phone number to confirm this purchase..

We would like to request a picture of a photo ID (e.g. driver’s license, state ID, passport) clearly showing your photo, signature and address. NOTE: the address on the ID should match the billing address listed on your recent order.

We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your cooperation.  Once verified, we look forward to shipping your order.

Thanks!

Essential Products Customer Care

  • Published Date: August 31, 2017 10:43 AM IST