Google reportedly allows apps to scan some people's Gmail inboxes

04 July, 2018, 14:16 | Author: Darrell Baldwin
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Gmail is a prime data source for app developers and marketers, as it contains a wide range of consumer information ranging from travel itineraries to shopping histories. Here you can review which apps have access to what data, and revoke any you like.

These IT employees are permitted to use systems or even other workers to read user emails.

"Some people might consider that to be a dirty secret".

The company has used a blog post to respond to the concerns raised by the Wall Street Journal, insisting that it carefully vets any third party that has access to sensitive data.

The furore continues an ongoing theme in Silicon Valley: the security risks posed by third-party apps attached to popular web platforms. Users may be giving permission to these apps in one way or another, but it may not always be clear what permission you're granting.

Developers whose apps have such access to your account can't change your password, delete your account, or use Google Pay on your behalf, but they can potentially read your email - or have their employees do it. Any of Gmail's 1.3 billion users who have connected their email addresses to apps may have unknowingly given those apps permission to read their communications. At one point about two years ago, Return Path employees read about 8,000 unredacted emails to help train the company's software, people familiar with the episode say.

To recall, Google back in 2017, said its computers will soon stop reading the emails of its Gmail users to personalise their ads. To develop its products like the "Smart Reply' feature, Edison Software has read thousands of emails".

The companies said they didn't ask users about reading their emails because such language is "covered" by their user agreements. While the WSJ found no evidence that these companies misused the data they collected, it's still a blow to user confidence, especially as companies like Google and Facebook keep saying that they're protecting your data. In other words, Google can't do much for legitimate apps that you've given permission to.

With Gmail being a free email service, it makes sense that Google would need to find a way to make money, right? The company said "no-one at Google reads your Gmail, except in very specific cases where you ask us to and give consent, or where [it needs] to for security purposes, such as investigating a bug or abuse".



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