Of Course App Developers Can Read Your Email

Of Course App Developers Can Read Your Email

One company told the Wall Street Journal that the practice was "common" and a "dirty secret".

Google promised a year ago to provide more privacy to Gmail users, but The Wall Street Journal reports that hundreds of app makers have access to millions of inboxes belonging to Gmail users.

Nearly exactly a year ago, Google promised to stop scanning your inbox to serve up ads in Gmail, but as the Journal's article details, executives of the vetted third-party companies claimed that their employees would read millions of emails and that it was "common practice".

If you're concerned about third-parties potentially reading your messages you can stop this by visiting Google's Security Check-up page.

Privacy matters Google may have promised to stop scanning the inboxes of Gmail users for ad-targeting purposes past year, but it still lets third-party app developers read your private messages.

"Data-mining companies commonly use free apps and services to hook users into giving up access to their inboxes without clearly stating what data they collect and what they are doing with it, according to current and former employees of these companies", the report said.


One security expert said it was "surprising" that Google allowed it.

Google lets people connect their account to third-party email management tools, or services such as travel planning and price comparisons. Because the messages aren't end-to-end encrypted, the company has the ability to read them whenever it wants.

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. An executive at another company said employees' reading of emails had become "common practice".

Google users may authorize companies to access account data.

It pointed the BBC to its developer policies, which state: "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 your ability to access Google API Services".

Some Gmail users may be shocked when they realize that humans may have read their emails on Gmail. He says engineers at eDataSource occasionally reviewed emails when building and improving software algorithms.

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