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

Judy Cobb
July 4, 2018

In this age of the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal, people are now very conscious about giving access to third-party users since these may not always be aboveboard and may use the data for nefarious reasons.

In a blog post, Google's director of security Suzanne Frey explains that before an app can even ask for permission to read your Gmail messages it must pass a stringent review. "Return Path is an app that collects data for marketers by analysing users" inbox emails.

"Some people might consider that to be a dirty secret", Mr Loder told the Wall Street Journal. In some cases, staff were able to read users' private emails, according to the "Wall Street Journal'".

If you want to find out which apps have access to your account information, it's rather simple.

However it isn't as nefarious as you might think as these scans were conducted using apps that users would have had to give permission to.

Google for its part says that this access to their users data is only given to third-party developers that have been closely vetted.

"That includes automated and manual review of the developer, assessment of the app's privacy policy and homepage to ensure it is a legitimate app, and in-app testing to ensure the app works as it says it does". (Gmail has more than 1 billion monthly active users.) In some cases, developers' employees had access to thousands of Gmail users' emails.

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Several companies such as Edison Software and eDataSource Inc have confirmed they had read emails in order to improve their services.

Hundreds of outside software developers were granted access to private emails through the terms and conditions of the user agreement.

Some Gmail users may be shocked when they realize that humans may have read their emails on Gmail. But some companies that use Google's apps in their workplaces also require their employees to use their Google login to sign into other apps and services.

"We strongly encourage you to review the permissions screen before granting access to any non-Google application", the Internet giant suggested.

Now You: Do you permit third-party apps access to important data?

Google said a year ago it would stop its computers from scanning the inboxes of Gmail users for information to personalize advertisements, saying it wanted users to "remain confident that Google will keep privacy and security paramount".

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