A few days after this went viral, but worth nothing nonetheless. The gist of the article is that there’s a new piece of email software out in the world called Superhuman. One of its features, that is on by default, is that all emails you send using Superhuman include a tracking pixel. This tracking pixel allows the sender to know whether someone read the email, when it was read (timestamp), and where they read it (geolocation). This was poorly implemented from a privacy perspective. It’s not opt-in. And time stamps and geolocation are a bad combination of data to give users. An example he gives is about an ex who emails their former partner. The ex then knows when and if the partner reads the message, the number of times they read the message, and where they are reading the message. All without the partner knowing they are being surveilled by the ex. Creepy and a poor design decision.
Mike also makes the case for an ethical trajectory for a company: if you make ethically questionable decision now you’re more likely and able to make progressively worse decisions down the line based on precedent.
Worth the read.
Update: Yesterday, Rahul Vohra the CEO of Superhuman posted a response to Mike’s essay.