Andy Rubin apologizes for Essential's massive privacy mistake

Mariella Moon
The suspicious email some people who pre-ordered the Essential phone received wasn't a scam or a phishing attempt at all.

The suspicious email some people who pre-ordered the Essential phone received wasn't a scam or a phishing attempt at all. Andy Rubin, the company's founder, has apologized and revealed that it was a legit email from an account that's gone rogue. In a statement posted on Essential's blog, the Android platform's creator said the company "made an error in [its] customer care function." It seems a customer service rep used a misconfigured account that sent a single email asking for a photo ID and other identifying info to multiple recipients. As a result, around 70 of them ended up sending sensitive info to "a small group of other customers."

Unfortunately, they can't erase their details from other people's inboxes and can't prevent anyone from keeping copies. Essential has offered them a year's worth of identity theft protection service through LifeLock, though -- and a promise to prevent something similar from happening again. Rubin said the company has already "taken steps internally to add safeguards against this happening again in the future." It has disabled the misconfigured account and has pledged to invest more in its infrastructure and customer care, which it recognizes are important elements as it continues to grow.

Part of the founder's statement reads:

"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."

Essential