Google allows developers to access user emails

Google allows developers to access user emails

Google allows developers to access user emails

Google told us that it vets partners to make sure they're only requesting data that users have given them access to and that they have a privacy policy in place.

Not that long ago, Google promised its users that it will stop using bots to search for potential information, that could aid advertising, within their emails.

Apparently, users who signed up for email-based services, shopping price comparisons and automated travel-itinerary planners using their Gmail accounts, are at most risk of this privacy breach.

"As anyone who knows anything about software knows, humans program software - artificial intelligence comes directly from human intelligence", Return Path founder Matt Blumberg wrote, adding that the company takes "great care to limit who has access to the data, supervise all access to the data, deploying a Virtual Safety Room, where data can not leave this VSR and all data is destroyed after the work is completed".

Employees working for hundreds of software developers are reading the private messages of Gmail users, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

The WSJ cited a second case, that of another Gmail developer, Edison Software, that sells a mobile application for reading and organising email. (Gmail has more than 1 billion monthly active users.) In some cases, developers' employees had access to thousands of Gmail users' emails.

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Although Return Path declined to comment on details of the incident, it did say it sometimes lets employees see emails when fixing problems with its algorithms. No, it's not Google, this time around, but this privacy-infringing feature does affect Gmail, which happens to be the world's top email service.

Google said past year it would stop scanning user emails for data that helps marketers target ads.

Giving developers access to your data might part of the terms of service - whether that's for tech giants like Google or Facebook, or 20-person startups - but people often don't realize just exactly they're agreeing to.

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.

But everyone who spoke to the Journal confirmed that the practice is specified in their user agreements and they have implemented strict rules for employees regarding the handling of email.

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