Essential Issues Apology For Humiliating And Accidental Customer Info Leak

Andy Rubin, co-founder of Android and CEO of Essential, issued an apology after his smartphone company accidentally leaked out private data from dozens of customers to other customers. What happened was sort of akin to mass emailing a large group and forgetting to BCC everyone, leaving their email addresses in plain site to one another. Only in this case, it involved more than email addresses.

Andy Rubin
Image Source: Flickr (Joi Ito)

"Yesterday, we made an error in our customer care function that resulted in personal information from approximately 70 customers being shared with a small group of other customers. We have disabled the misconfigured account and have taken steps internally to add safeguards against this happening again in the future," Rubin stated in a blog post. "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."

It is an unfortunate mistake and it comes at an inopportune time for Essential (not there is ever a good time to leak out customer data)—the company has begun taking orders for its first and somewhat highly anticipated smartphone, which has been through delays. Essential wants to make a good first impression with customers, and instead created a "humiliating" and "humbling" situation, as Rubin referred to the mistake. On the bright side, Rubin is holding himself accountable and is not trying to sweep the situation under the rug, which some companies might be prone to do with 'only' a few dozen people are affected.

"As Essential's founder and CEO, I'm personally responsible for this error and will try my best to not repeat it," Rubin added.

Essential Phone

This mess up aside, Essential has sent out shipping confirmation to some customers who ordered an Essential Phone. It is finally here, and also in the hands of some reviewers. Essential ultimately hopes that it can be a competitive force in the top-tier market where Samsung and Apple currently dominate.

The Essential Phone runs $699 and sports a titanium body with a ceramic backside. It has a 5.71-inch display with a 2560x1312 resolution (19:10 aspect ratio) protected by Gorilla Glass 5. The device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC and 4GB of RAM. It also features 128GB of onboard storage, an 8-megapilxel front camera and dual 13-megapixel rear cameras, USB-C connectivity, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 LE wireless connectivity, and a 3,040 mAh battery. The phone runs on Android.