Software Developers are Scanning the Inboxes of Gmail Users

Adjust Comment Print

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that employees working with hundreds of software developers are capable of reading your private messages you send from Gmail.

You likely gave the "Signing in with Google" apps permission to access such data because you wanted to use your Google login to sign into your accounts with them instead of having to create separate user accounts and passwords. "Google does little to police those developers, who train their computers - and, in some cases, employees - to read their users' emails", it said. It is said to have allowed its employees access to "thousands" of user emails to help develop the app's Smart Reply feature.

Ostensibly, Google only allows vetted third-party developers to request such permissions, and the intention of these companies is to use this information for targeted shopping suggestions and advertising, but the concern remains over how closely these companies are monitored once they've been granted access. 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.

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

More news: Suarez Says Rivalry With Ronaldo Different When Playing for Uruguay, Barcelona
More news: Saudi king agrees to ramp up oil production, Trump says
More news: Trump celebrates victories for 3 endorsed candidates

With Gmail being a free email service, it makes sense that Google would need to find a way to make money, right? The increased scrutiny follows the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which a data firm was accused of misusing the personal information of more than 80 million Facebook users in an attempt to sway elections.

They include Return Path, a company that collects data for advertisers, and email organisation tool Edison Software.

The other side of the medal is that developers sometimes request permissions that they don't need explicitly and that it is often hard for users to determine whether the request makes sense. You did that so that you could take advantage of a particular type of app built around email, like a service that tells you when prices for specific products goes down.

The app companies say that their actions are covered by their user agreements.

Comments