Google reportedly allows outside app developers to read people's Gmails

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Software Developers are Scanning the Inboxes of Gmail Users

But you should make sure you trust the apps and developers that have such access to your accounts and that you are only giving them as much access as they need.

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.

Mikael Berner, CEO of Edison Software, a Gmail developer that offers a mobile app for organizing email, told the Journal that emails from hundreds of Gmail users were read by employees as part of an effort to build a new feature.

Millions of people are believed to have installed Gmail apps.

Two third-party apps have come under particular scrutiny. In turn, some developers say they're not aware of any oversight from Google.

Yes, it's still a privacy issue, but it's all in the name of getting better online services without paying for them. We leave our privacy at the door when we use products from Facebook and Google, and there's nothing that we can do about it.

Apps in the "Signing in with Google" section have access to your name, email address, and profile picture.

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Google "does little to police those developers, who train their computers - and, in some cases, employees - to read their users' emails", the Journal reported. Well, to improve their services. Those included Edison Software, eDataSource Inc and Return Path.

Computers normally do the scanning, analyzing about 100 million emails a day.

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".

In 2016, Return Path discovered its algorithm was mislabeling many personal emails as commercial, according to a person familiar with the matter. Consumers' reaction is becoming a major challenge for tech companies as they face lawmakers, lawsuits and the threat of regulation over data policies they say they've been telling us about all along.

Return Path also defended its actions. Because the messages aren't end-to-end encrypted, the company has the ability to read them whenever it wants.

The full Journal article is available at this link, and it's worth a read.

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