Is Twilio Sharing Customer Data with a Competitor?

We were never fans of Google Voice.

Not sure why Google Voice never caught on, but it never felt right letting Google have even more data about our business and personal lives than they already do.

When it comes to voice service, it may be better to simply trust the phone company.

Or maybe even the cable provider.

Not that it matters, but both the phone company and the cable company are federally regulated.

Here is our open letter to Twilio:

We are both surprised and dismayed that Twilio has chosen to add the Google Recaptcha service as a login gate to the Twilio service.

The Google Recaptcha service is an annoyance for users who are forced to select street signs, cars or fruit from certain images. Just to log in to their Twilio account. For many users it is not as easy as ticking a checkbox to prove that they are “not a robot”.

More importantly, Twilio developers may not realize that Google operates Google Voice which is a Twilio competitor. We believe that there are a fair number of people who use Twilio services, because they do not want to use Google services including Google Voice.

So why on earth would an otherwise well run company like Twilio freely give login information about their customers to a competitor?

It seems that Twilio management has now given Google more information about their customers on a silver platter.

And has Twilio documented this information sharing practice on the Twilio privacy policy?

Of course not.

Software developers in general have to smarter and not so lazy in their decision making. Some software developers are gullible, do not understand business and therefore should not be the final decision makers on such important matters.

Selling out customers to a third party for access to “free” software libraries is not going end well for Twilio and the ones who made the decision. Is it because Twilio developers can not figure out a captcha or a simple way to manage rogue logins?

Many companies have managed to do so without resorting to “short cuts”.

We have used Ooma in the past and written a detailed blog post about the very same practice by Ooma.

To Ooma’s credit, Ooma got the message and reversed course quickly.

We never thought we would see the day where Twilio would be ensnared in the same net.

Suffice it to say, that we will have a hard time continuing to use and recommend Twilio if Twilio continues the practice. Twilio management can not be allowed to remain clueless about real threats to competitiveness and customer privacy. Allowing Twilio customer data to be shared with a competitor and then failing to disclose the practice are unforgivable blunders.

We really hope Twilio rethinks this decision and the care they are supposed to hold customer data.

We believe that most Twilio users who understand the impact of this “share customer data with Google in exchange for ‘free’ software services” decision will be so disgusted with Twilio that they will just quit using Twilio and not even bother to let Twilio know why they left.

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