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

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

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

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. Gmail users who signed up for "email-based services" like "shopping price comparisons", and "automated travel-itinerary planners" are most at risk of having their private messages read, The Journal reported.

Now, Google only allows vetted third-parties to gain such permissions but, as per the article, the number of developers with full access to your emails may number in the hundreds. Wired editor-in-chief and CBS News contributor Nicholas Thompson joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss whether this is similar to the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal and what Google needs to do to make privacy settings clearer. 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. Companies may reveal additional details about how data is processed but most users don't read privacy policies, terms of service, and other legal documents prior to allowing access to their data or installing applications.

One is Return Path, an app that collects data for marketers from users' inboxes. At one point about two years ago, Return Path employees read about 8,000 unredacted emails to help train the company's software, people familiar with the episode say.

When news broke this week that Google was letting Gmail app developers scan and even read your email, we heard what's become Silicon Valley's usual excuse: This is what you signed up for.


It's interesting to note that, judging from The Journal's story, very little indicates that Google is doing anything different from Microsoft or other top email providers.

Another firm - eDataSource Inc - said engineers had previously reviewed emails to improve its algorithms.

Companies that spoke to The Journal confirmed that the practice was specified in their user agreements and said they had implemented strict rules for employees regarding the handling of email.

"It might well be mentioned in there, but it's not what you would think of as reasonable, for a human being in a third-party company to be able to read your emails".

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