App developers have been reading your Gmail, and it's alarmingly common

Nichole VegaJul 04, 2018

The popular Google email client-used by more than 1.4 billion users-is reportedly letting hundreds of software developers scan inboxes and, in some cases, even read conversations.

"Google does little to police those developers, who train their computers- and, in some cases, employees - to read their users' emails", the report further stated.

Google responded Tuesday to a backlash surrounding Gmail, after it was reported that employees at third-party apps could read people's emails. 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.

Many software developers also said they go through inboxes to improve the user experience.

Some Gmail users may be shocked when they realize that humans may have read their emails on Gmail.

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.

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.

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.

Edison Software told the newspaper it had reviewed the emails of hundreds of users to build a new software feature. Email managing firms Return Path and Edison Software are few of the trusted companies.

"Nevertheless, privacy advocates and many tech industry executives say opening access to email data risks similar leaks", the report said.

The report said a former officer for eDataSource Inc. said that having employees read someone else's emails is "common practice" for data collectors. These apps only have basic profile information - like your name and email address - so that you don't have to sign up for yet another website account that you have keep track of.

The companies said they didn't ask users about reading their emails because such language is "covered" by their user agreements.

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