Third-Party Developers Reportedly Allowed To Scan Gmail Users’ Emails

Third-Party Developers Reportedly Allowed To Scan Gmail Users’ Emails

Millions of people are believed to have installed Gmail apps. If you're logged in with your Google account, you'll see a tab titled "Third-party access".

In 2017, Google announced it would no longer scan Gmail to personalise advertisements.

However, Google's process of seeking consent from Gmail users is not very clear.

"Nevertheless, privacy advocates and many tech industry executives say opening access to email data risks similar leaks", the report said.

Company computers, which scan some 100 million emails a day, were "trained" by workers who personally read thousands of emails.

But it turns out that your email isn't perfectly confidential as actual humans might be reading the emails you send and receive.

According to the Wall Street Journal, users of third party applications offering email-based services, including price comparison tools or productivity software, may not be aware that the permissions they have granted are actually letting computers and humans access their personal messages. The publication claims that two years ago, Return Path employees read about 8,000 emails to help train the company's software.

"Some people might consider that to be a dirty secret", says Mr. Loder. "It's kind of reality", said former chief technology officer of eDataSource Inc. Frey stressed that Google does this with a vetting process in place.

While developers did not explicitly advertise to users that they are able to poke around email inboxes, the companies stressed that the practice is covered in their user agreements.

"You can also view and control permissions within myaccount.google.com under Apps".

One of the developers mentioned in the WSJ story, Edison Software (formerly EasilyDo), makes an email app that "intelligently manages" your mail from Google or any of a number of other providers.

For those who might be concerned about this discovery, you can go to your Google Account's main page, head to the Sign-in & Security section and select "Apps with account access". If you're a Google Apps for Business user, you can set permissions so that your users can't even grant those sorts of permissions, either per app or in general.

In another case, employees of Edison Software, another Gmail developer that makes a mobile app for reading and organizing email, personally reviewed the emails of hundreds of users to build a new feature, says Mikael Berner, the company's CEO.

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