Google responds to Gmail privacy concerns: ‘we’re not reading your emails’

Software Developers are Scanning the Inboxes of Gmail Users

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

When linking an account to a third party, users are asked to certain access permissions, often including access to read, send, manage or even delete emails.

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.

After the Facebook data misuse scandal hit the headlines in March, Apple was quick to point out that the iPhone maker doesn't have to sell user data because its customers aren't its product.

"Some people might consider that to be a dirty secret", Mr Loder told the Wall Street Journal.

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Such tools can be used to compared prices or plan holidays, and can result in human workers reading users' email correspondence rather than computer algorithms, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"We do not process email content to serve ads, and we are not compensated by developers for API access".

"That includes automated and manual review of the developer, assessment of the app's privacy policy and homepage to ensure it is a legitimate app, and in-app testing to ensure the app works as it says it does".

However, installing them hands the app developers.

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With 1.4 billion users that make up almost two-thirds of all active email users worldwide, Gmail is the world's top email service.

The companies said they had not asked users for specific permission to read their Gmail messages, because the practice was covered by their user agreements.

It detailed how companies such as Return Path and Edison Software review Gmail users' emails to help them train their company's software and build new email features for marketing and other purposes. But some companies that use Google's apps in their workplaces also require their employees to use their Google login to sign into other apps and services. Top tech companies are under pressure in the United States and Europe to do more to protect user privacy and be more transparent about any parties with access to people's data.

If you want to check if any developers have permission to read yours, you can go to Google's privacy checkup page.

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Users need to give explicit consent to applications or services, and if that happens through a token-based system that Google uses for this kind of authorization, it does happen without users having to supply their username or password to these companies.

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