Data privacy is a major concern on the internet, especially when users just give away their personal data to companies like Google, Facebook and Apple for several different purposes. Well, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal, third-party Gmail app developers can read the emails of millions of Gmail users.
Google calmed the controversy of sharing Gmail data with the third party app developers with a blog post in which the company reiterates its commitment to vetting those third-party apps and services that have access to sensitive Gmail data.
Suzanne Frey, the director of the company’s Security, Trust, & Privacy division of Google Cloud said;
Speaking on when Google uses Gmail data, Suzanne said;
The practice of automatic processing has caused some to speculate mistakenly that Google ‘reads’ your emails. To be absolutely clear: no one at Google reads your Gmail, except in very specific cases where you ask us to and give consent, or where we need to for security purposes, such as investigating a bug or abuse.
Gmail App Developers Sharing Your Data
Gmail’s access settings allow data companies and app developers to see people’s emails and view their private details, which includes users address, time stamps and the entire set of emails. Stating the issue, Google told The Verge that it only shares the data only to the vetted third-party developers and with users explicit consent.
How Many Apps Have The Acess To Users Data?
No precise data available, but one thing for sure there are a lot of apps with data access. If you’ve ever seen a request like the one below when entering your Gmail account into an app, it’s possible you’ve given the app permission to read your emails. Unquestionably it is not new, other email services besides Gmail also provide third-party apps similar access.
This alike data sharing well well used by email managing firms like Return Path and Edison Software, which make use of thousands of email accounts to train machine algorithms to handle data. Moreover, both the Return Path’s and Edison Software’s privacy policies mention that the companies will monitor emails, but no mention of machines in it.
Giving access to the data let Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data sharing fiasco. So, letting third-party apps access Facebook data was eventually abused and fell under government and public supervision.
The reminiscent situation could repeat especially when there is no evidence of how many third-party Gmail add-on developers have misused the data, just being able to view and read private emails without a proper consent scares the privacy of the users. Well, If you want to see what apps have permissions to your Gmail account and revoke those that you no longer use or look suspicious, click here.