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

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B3 AZ479 0629GM M 20180629191609

A recent Wall Street Journal research has found that Google is not doing enough to prevent those developers from reading their users' emails, some of which even train their computers, as well as their employees for the job.

The Wall Street Journal, which was the first to point this out, called it "tech's dirty secret" that has been kept under wraps for a long time.

CEO of Edison Software, a Google developer, Mikael Berner said that it was common practice for employees to read the inboxes of hundreds of Gmail users in order to build a new feature. Some companies may request access to "read, send, delete, and manage your email" which gives them full access to emails on Gmail.

Apparently, users who signed up for email-based services, shopping price comparisons and automated travel-itinerary planners using their Gmail accounts, are at most risk of this privacy breach.

Now, Google only allows vetted third-parties to gain such permissions but, as per the article, the number of developers with full access to your emails may number in the hundreds.

Google allows users to connect third-party services to their accounts, and it's here the problems arise.

Two third-party apps have come under particular scrutiny.

Google's mail service has always been criticized for the invasive practices of the company, which runs nearly entirely on employing all the data it collects on users to attract advertisers and target their wares to the people most likely to buy them. "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".

While these kind of apps do ask for user consent, numerous forms don't make it explicitly clear that a human will be reading through your emails, not just a machine. Developers swear that manual access is used only оn rare and special occasions and is exclusively to improve customer experience, but we've heard that reasoning enough times to know it's just something PR representatives are forced to say.

Last year, Google said that it will keep the privacy of its users paramount and would stop its computers from scanning the inboxes of Gmail users for information to personalize advertisements.

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