Hi-Tech

How to stop your private Gmail messages being read by third parties

How to stop your private Gmail messages being read by third parties

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal on Monday, Google allows various third-party app developers to sift through its users Gmail messages under the guise of offering users better products and services.

The Wall Street Journal, which was the first to point this out, called it "tech's dirty secret" that has been kept under wraps for a long time.

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

What is unclear is how closely these outside developers adhere to their agreements and whether Google does anything to ensure they do, as well as whether Gmail users are fully aware that individual employees may be reading their emails, as opposed to an automated system, the report says.

If you're concerned about third-parties potentially reading your messages you can stop this by visiting Google's Security Check-up page.




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.

Now You: Do you permit third-party apps access to important data?

Letting employees read user emails has become "common practice" for companies that collect this type of data, says Thede Loder, the former chief technology officer at eDataSource Inc., a rival to Return Path. In other words: if you grant a company access to your email data, it may be that human employees read it. While many of these companies in question utilise machines to go through users emails for keywords and phrases, some of them have it done manually by their employees.

Google said a year ago it would stop its computers from scanning the inboxes of Gmail users for information to personalize advertisements, saying it wanted users to "remain confident that Google will keep privacy and security paramount". The company has read over 8,000 emails to develop its software. A Microsoft spokesperson said developers were not allowed to access customer data without consent.

The Journal reports that users signing up for certain email-based services using their Gmail account are agreeing to terms and conditions which allow the developers of the service in question to read their emails.


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