Our Take on Privacy

Recently a number of companies have come under fire for taking information from their users without their knowledge.  Path, Facebook, Twitter and others were all exposed to be actively taking information from an iPhone user’s address book without their knowledge.  Google was found to be actively subverting the web privacy capabilities of Safari in spite of promising the opposite.

All guilty parties apologized and promised to do better next time.  But we are left with the uneasy feeling that we are in a “whack-a-mole” situation where the default privacy policy by many companies has become “take what you can get” and “apologize when necessary”.  It makes you wonder what else is going on that you don’t know about and will be exposed next week.

PandoDaily went so far as to say that your address book isn’t really yours anyway since it consists of other people’s information.  By this logic, are emails someone sent me not mine?  Is a document or photo that someone sent me free game?  The whole issue has become both complicated and disturbing.

I remember a speech I heard Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Google, give many years ago, well before Google went public.  In the Q&A after his speech, someone asked him if you really wanted to keep something private, how would you do it.  His response was perplexing to me at the time.  He said, “Don’t put it on a computer.”  That raised more than a few eyebrows in the audience, who expected him to say things like: don’t email it, don’t put it on a web page, have a secure network, etc.  Nope, he said, “Don’t put it on a computer,” because nothing digital is safe.  Now that comment looks prescient.

At Reachable, we believe that privacy is paramount and we have two fundamental tenants:

  1. What’s yours is yours.  Anything you have is by definition yours. Your address book, your emails, your web visits.  You may let us use it as part of our application to make Reachable more useful for you.  But it’s still yours and we’ll never sell it to anyone else or let anyone else use it without your knowledge and consent.  And if you ever decide to stop using Reachable and deactivate your account, all your data will be deleted from our system.  Simple as that.
  2. Total transparency.  Reachable will be 100% transparent about what we are doing and how we are using the information that you give us.  We’ll say what we do and do what we say.  We’ll never pretend to be doing one thing while really doing something tricky and malicious.

This whole privacy argument is really about transparency and trust.  Our users put their trust in us by using our service, and we’ll honor that trust and be transparent on our practices.

 – Al Campa, Reachable CEO

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *