Published: Tue, July 03, 2018
Technology | By Christopher Mann

Gmail Third-Party App Developers Allowed to Scan Your Emails by Google

Gmail Third-Party App Developers Allowed to Scan Your Emails by Google

"It might well be mentioned in there, but it's not what you would think of as reasonable, for a human being in a third-party company to be able to read your emails". While many of these companies in question utilise machines to go through users emails for keywords and phrases, some of them have it done manually by their employees.

"Email data collectors use software to scan millions of messages a day, looking for clues about consumers that they can sell to marketers, hedge funds and other businesses", the report added, saying data miners generally have access to other email services besides Gmail.

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.

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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To find out and edit which third-party apps have access to your Gmail account, head to the My Account page and login.

Gmail's opt-in alert spells out generally what a user is agreeing to. Google declined to comment.

Gmail is the world's most popular email service with 1.4 billion users.

The companies that had spokespeople quoted in the article claim that all their employees must adhere to strict guidelines when checking user data, and while there are no signs of misuse amongst other developers, the potential is certainly there.

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People most susceptible to email skimming are those who have subscribed to various online services.

Mikael Berner, the CEO of Edison Software, a Gmail developer that offers a mobile app for organising email, told The Journal that its employees had read emails from hundreds of Gmail users as part of an effort to build a new feature.

As per the report, Return Path one of the said companies which Google allowed.

Neither of these two companies sought explicit permission from the users to read their emails but say that it is covered under their user agreements.

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The other side of the medal is that developers sometimes request permissions that they don't need explicitly and that it is often hard for users to determine whether the request makes sense. According to the newspaper, nothing in Microsoft or Yahoo's policy agreements explicitly allows people to read others' emails.

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