Of Course App Developers Can Read Your Email

04 July, 2018, 00:51 | Author: Shawn Conner
  • Software Developers are Scanning the Inboxes of Gmail Users

Fresh reports have now emerged that claim Google allowed third-party app developers to read and browse through the emails of millions of Gmail users.

For example, the report said, a company called Return Path Inc. collects data for marketers "by scanning the inboxes of more than two million people who have signed up for one of the free apps in Return Path's partner network using a Gmail, Microsoft Corp. or Yahoo email address". The report further states that not only can the companies developing products and services read users private emails, it also includes all their employees too. Some allow people to write emails in special fonts, or to make it easier to find images to send to others, while others make it easier for people to organise their emails into folders.

People who have connected third-party apps to their accounts may have unwittingly given external developers permission to read their messages.

Google's mail service has always been criticized for the invasive practices of the company, which runs nearly entirely on employing all the data it collects on users to attract advertisers and target their wares to the people most likely to buy them.

"It is not reasonable, practical or efficient to expect users to know how third-party companies will make use of their personal data", Rotenberg said. Developers swear that manual access is used only оn rare and special occasions and is exclusively to improve customer experience, but we've heard that reasoning enough times to know it's just something PR representatives are forced to say. An executive at another company said employees' reading of emails had become "common practice".

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

Both Return Path and Edison Software said they've now stopped the practice.

The report said at one point, Return Path workers read about 8000 unredacted emails to train their company's scanning software. Google declined to comment.

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. Since then, data privacy from third-party app developers has been a global hot button topic. "And I think that is the big privacy violation".

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