Featured Image for Android creator’s Essential Phone company leaks customer data in epic email fail

Android creator’s Essential Phone company leaks customer data in epic email fail

Here’s another reminder that we should always double check before hitting “send”.

We’ve all felt the whoosh of fear when sending an email with the wrong person carbon-copied into the conversation.

Essential Products, the new project by Android creator Andy Rubin, is feeling the pain of a CC fail big time this week.

On Tuesday night, some customers who had preordered the Essential Phone received an email asking for personal details, including a picture of their driver’s license.

At first, people thought it was a phishing scam, but it was later discovered that Essential had legitimately sent the emails to verify the customers’ identities and protect them from fraud.

But instead of protecting them, Essential ended up accidentally sharing all their information amongst the group of approximately 70 customers.

The Verge did some detective work and found that the identity request email was accidentally sent as a group email, with each participant CCed in.


Rubin responded later that day in a blog post that apologises for the blunder.

“We have disabled the misconfigured account and have taken steps internally to add safeguards against this happening again in the future,” he wrote. “We sincerely apologize for our error and will be offering the impacted customers one year of LifeLock. We will also continue to invest more in our infrastructure and customer care, which will only be more important as we grow.”

LifeLock is an American identity theft protection company that detects ID threats and helps people deal with them.

The CC fail is not the only teething problem Essential has experienced. The phone has seen multiple delays, missing its original shipping date of late June.

At the moment the Essential Phone is only officially available in the U.S. and Canada. It’s priced at $USD 699 ($AUD 880) and features a dual camera and support for modular attachments.

The Next Web has reviewed the phone and given a mostly favourable assessment with the exception of the phone’s camera.

“The PH-1 makes compromises like every other phone, and its default camera experience is confusingly poor,” the review concludes. “But its blend of premium hardware, great battery life, small bezels, powerful specs, and stock Android is hard to find elsewhere. That combination alone makes the PH-1 one of the best phones of the year for Android purists. If Essential can do something about its camera app, maybe it will be a great phone for everyone else too.”

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based freelance writer. In his spare time, he plays tennis badly, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin. Follow Stefan on Twitter

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