Popular apps and websites reserve the right to sell your anonymized data

By Nick Vega

Last month, most people learned through a New York Times story that the email decluttering service Unroll.me had been selling anonymized customer data to third parties.

Specifically, Unroll.me had reportedly analyzed Lyft receipt data from users' email inboxes, then sold that data to Uber. Unroll.me would not confirm the specific transactions with Business Insider, but did say it routinely sells data in this way to third parties, which is how the site makes money.

Unroll.Me's pointed to the company's plain-English privacy policy to show that there was no effort to conceal what the company was doing, but customers were nonetheless upset. Many felt that their trust had been betrayed, and that they had been misled.

In the wake of this story, we decided to go through the privacy policies of several popular applications and websites to see what they do with users' anonymized data. To be clear, inclusion on this list does not mean that a company is actively selling users' anonymized, non-identifiable data; several companies responded to our inquiries to clarify that they do not do this. However, we asked an attorney to look over these privacy policies, and he was able to confirm that the language keeps the options for these companies to sell your data at a later date.