Third-parties may read your Google Mail emails if you allow it

Software Developers are Scanning the Inboxes of Gmail Users

The Journal said Google confirmed it provides data to outside developers it has "vetted" and to whom users have granted access permission.

The report said at one point, Return Path workers read about 8000 unredacted emails to train their company's scanning software. The Internet giant recently rolled out new features for Android users to make it easier for them to navigate their Gmail accounts and review security and privacy options.

Google has not yet commented on the issue.

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".

Hundreds of app developers electronically "scan" inboxes of the people who signed up for some of these programs, and in some cases employees do the reading, the paper reported. 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. From there you will be able to see all the apps that now have access to your Google account, and you can remove some of them if you no longer use them or if you're not comfortable with it.

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Nearly exactly a year ago, Google promised to stop scanning your inbox to serve up ads in Gmail, but as the Journal's article details, executives of the vetted third-party companies claimed that their employees would read millions of emails and that it was "common practice".

The very first thing that you may want to do is open the Permissions page for your Google Account to make sure that only legitimate applications and services have access to it.

Google indicated that the practice was not against its policies.

But the company is still allowing software developers who are not employed by it to scan the Gmail accounts of millions who have become part of email-based services like those which offer price comparisons or travel-itinerary planners, The Wall Street Journal claims. They defended this action by saying, "The practice is specified in their user agreements and they have implemented strict rules for employees regarding the handling of emails".

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