Google reportedly allows outside app developers to read people's Gmails

04 July, 2018, 00:50 | Author: Camille Rivera
  • Gmail opti-in

Google told us that it vets partners to make sure they're only requesting data that users have given them access to and that they have a privacy policy in place.

"It is not reasonable, practical or efficient to expect users to know how third-party companies will make use of their personal data", Rotenberg said.

Google is allowing app developers to sift through your Gmail account.

The report said at one point, Return Path workers read about 8000 unredacted emails to train their company's scanning software.

Google was yet to comment on the report.




A year ago, Google promised to stop scanning the inboxes of Gmail users but the company has not done much to protect Gmail inboxes obtained by outside software developers, according to the newspaper. No, it's not Google, this time around, but this privacy-infringing feature does affect Gmail, which happens to be the world's top email service. "Our email app was mentioned in the context of our engineers having in the past the ability to read a small random sample of de-identified messages for R&D purposes". In most cases, the people who signed up for the special price-comparison deals and other programs agreed to provide access to their inboxes as part of the opt-in process.

It pointed the BBC to its developer policies, which state: "There should be no surprises for Google users: hidden features, services, or actions that are inconsistent with the marketed objective of your application may lead Google to suspend your ability to access Google API Services".

They were then able to read and scan private emails to target adverts. Google stopped that practice a year ago, but a Wall Street Journal investigation shows there are plenty of apps that have access to your email, and some of them feed some of your emails to real humans. An executive at another company said employees' reading of emails had become "common practice".

It's interesting to note that, judging from The Journal's story, very little indicates that Google is doing anything different from Microsoft or other top email providers.

Companies that spoke to The Journal confirmed that the practice was specified in their user agreements and said they had implemented strict rules for employees regarding the handling of email.

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