You might have seen some of the Gmail apps in the name of ‘Add-ons’ in your Gmail, applications like Asana for Gmail, Trello for Gmail, SignRequest and some others use the permission to read your emails. Wall Street Journal has reported on Monday that third-party app developers can build services that are connected with Google’s Gmail some of those developers can access your emails, they can read your private messages and their employees can do so as well.
However, the report has only mentioned two apps, one of the apps is ReturnPath, the app analyzes user’s inbox and collects data for marketers, said WSJ. According to the report the ReturnPath employees read about 8,000 user emails two years earlier to help develop the company’s software.
The other mentioned app is named “Edison Software”, the app let users manage their emails efficiently and smartly, the employees of this company are able to read thousands of emails in order to train their “SmartReply” feature.
It is not surprising for app developers and other industry professionals to have this sort of access to reading emails, both the companies said they have the consent from users to access their emails and it is in their privacy as well, Google also take permissions from users when integrating third-party apps with Gmail.
But for common users it might be surprising that the company and their employees can access their private messages, they may not know what they were signing up for.
However, Google announced last year June, that the company will stop scanning user emails for targeted Ads, but data access and privacy breach from third-party apps in ringing among the heads of many.
Since Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica controversy sparked many concerns among users, the digital consultancy firm reportedly accessed the personal data of over 87 million users from Facebook.
Google would not disclose its relationship with third-party developers, but the company strictly restricts outside developers access to Gmail data. Both companies Edison and ReturnPath have defended their employees reading user’s emails.
CEO of Edison said, “We has stopped the previous practice of reading emails which was used two years ago in order to build the “smart reply” feature, once the feature is developed we are not doing it anymore, we ensure the highest level of privacy for our users.”
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