Gmail messages 'read by third parties'

Todd Singleton
July 4, 2018

As the owner of the email account is in charge of granting the application permission to read their messages, the practice does not breach Google's user agreement, the company said.

Accurately represent themselves. Apps should not misrepresent their identity and must be clear about how they are using your data.

The Wall Street Journal does not allege misuse of data by Google or the apps mentioned.

"There is some other third party that has written code that is reading your email". You always have the option to head over to your settings and remove access to any of the apps that have asked you for permission to read your inboxes to offer you services like email and calendar reminders.

The company said before any non-Google app which can access Gmail is published, it goes through a rigorous vetting process. In turn, some developers say they're not aware of any oversight from Google.

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. At one point about two years ago, Return Path employees read about 8,000 unredacted emails to help train the company's software, people familiar with the episode say.

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"Overall there should be no surprises for Google users: hidden features, services, or actions that are inconsistent with the marketed goal of your application may lead Google to suspend [access]".

Google's statement comes amid escalating privacy concerns among users over how big tech companies are using their data. Edison Software says that they have now stopped this practice and "expunged all such data" to comply with their privacy priority.

Frey also reiterated the existing data controls users have at their disposal to examine the permissions they have given to third-party apps and take back the same authorization if necessary. "Gmail's primary business model is to sell our paid email service to organisations as a part of G Suite", Frey informed.

Google said it only reads emails in "cases where you ask us to and give consent, or where we need to for security purposes, such as investigating a bug or abuse".

While several app developers have termed this a "common practice" where humans access user data to develop machine algorithms, Google is yet to ensure that user data will not be compromised in a Facebook-Cambridge Analytica manner.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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