July 17, 2018

Third-party app developers scan through your Gmail

03 July 2018, 07:51 | Casey Mitchell

App developers have been reading your Gmail, and it's alarmingly common

Software Developers are Scanning the Inboxes of Gmail Users

Employees working for hundreds of software developers are reading the private messages of Gmail users, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

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

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.

Some Gmail users may be shocked when they realize that humans may have read their emails on Gmail.

The biggest takeaway, however, is that access is not restricted to computers accessing the data but that human employees may and do read emails as well.

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Some of these companies train software to scan the email, while others enable their workers to pore over private messages, the report says. Both the app makers say their practices are covered in the user agreements.

The revelation comes at a bad time for Google and Gmail, the world's largest email service with 1.4 billion users.

Google users may authorize companies to access account data.

To recall, Google back in 2017, said its computers will soon stop reading the emails of its Gmail users to personalise their ads.

Oath said access to email data was "on a case-by-case basis" and needed "express consent" from users.

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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.

You may need to research each individual program or service to make an educated decision.

However it isn't as nefarious as you might think as these scans were conducted using apps that users would have had to give permission to.

You can remove access for any service or application listed on the page and should do so for any that you don't use.

Google lets people connect their account to third-party email management tools, or services such as travel planning and price comparisons.

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