Professionalism/Mike Davidson, Rahul Vohra, and Superhuman

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Introduction[edit]

Superhuman is a startup email service which ran into trouble in 2019 when its lack of privacy was discovered. Mike Davidson, a former VP at Twitter, revealed that Superhuman was embedding pixels in their emails which logged the time and geolocation every time someone read an email. [1]

Superhuman's Response[edit]

In response to the backlash, Rahul Vohra, CEO and founder of Superhuman, posted a blog on the company's website.[2] He identified and responded to four main criticisms, as summarized below.

  1. Location data could be used in nefarious ways.

    Vohra states this was an oversight from neglecting to consider bad actors in Superhuman's design. He then announces that location information will be removed from all previous and future emails sent with the service.

  2. Read statuses are on by default.

    Read statuses will now be off by default. According to Vohra, it defaulted to on because "demand for read statuses is so high that it has now become table-stakes."

  3. Recipients of emails cannot opt out.

    Originally, Vohra points to other services or ways for recipients to prevent email tracking. A later update adds that Superhero now has this feature and instructions to configure it.

  4. Superhuman users cannot disable remote image loading.

    Vohra claims few people had requested this ability, but it will now be prioritized.


References[edit]

  1. https://www.geekwire.com/2019/super-concerned-superhuman-seattle-tech-vet-takes-issue-new-email-app-spying-users/
  2. https://blog.superhuman.com/read-statuses-bdf0cc34b6a5