Sci-tech

Google allowing third party app developers access to millions of gmail accounts

Google allowing third party app developers access to millions of gmail accounts”

Privacy matters Google may have promised to stop scanning the inboxes of Gmail users for ad-targeting purposes previous year, but it still lets third-party app developers read your private messages. Companies may reveal additional details about how data is processed but most users don't read privacy policies, terms of service, and other legal documents prior to allowing access to their data or installing applications. Google said it doesn't usually-employees are said to read emails only when they need to to squash bugs or fix security flaws-but the reality is that Gmail users have little say over who at Google can read their email.

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.

Gmail has about 1.4 billion users while Microsoft and Oath, the group formed after Verizon bough Yahoo!, are the next two biggest email providers.

It said Gmail users could visit the Security Check-up page to see which apps they had linked to their account, and revoke any they no longer wanted to share data with. Gmail users who signed up for "email-based services" like "shopping price comparisons", and "automated travel-itinerary planners" are most at risk of having their private messages read, The Journal reported.

One is Return Path, an app that collects data for marketers from users' inboxes.

Millions of people are believed to have installed Gmail apps. Its computers analyze about 100 million emails a day, while employees reading as much as 8,000 unredacted emails at one point.

"Some people might consider that to be a dirty secret", says Mr. Loder. But thinking developers weren't going through users' emails was simply naive.

Google said that it provides data to outside developers who have been vetted and who have been granted permission by users to access their email.

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".



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