Of Course App Developers Can Read Your Email

Software Developers are Scanning the Inboxes of Gmail Users

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.

The outside app companies receive access to messages from Gmail users who signed up for things like price-comparison services or automated travel-itinerary planners, according to The Journal. The company has read over 8,000 emails to develop its software. Its employees examined hundreds of user emails in order to build a new feature for the app.

One such company is Return Path, which collects data for marketers by scanning the inboxes of more than two million people who have signed up for one of the free apps in its partner network using a Gmail, Microsoft or Yahoo email address.

People who have connected third-party apps to their accounts may have unwittingly given external developers permission to read their messages.

Google was yet to comment on the report.

The revelation comes at a bad time for Google and Gmail, the world's largest email service with 1.4 billion users.

It pointed the BBC to its developer policies, which state: "There should be no surprises for Google users: hidden features, services, or actions that are inconsistent with the marketed objective of your application may lead Google to suspend your ability to access Google API Services".

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People most susceptible to email skimming are those who have subscribed to various online services.

Despite assuring users to "remain confident that Google will keep privacy and security paramount", the search giant is still reportedly allowing third-party app developers scan through Gmail accounts, the Wall Street Journal has claimed.

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

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 Journal highlights two companies that it says engages in this practice.

Google indicated that the practice was not against its policies. They defended this action by saying, "The practice is specified in their user agreements and they have implemented strict rules for employees regarding the handling of emails".

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