Tech & Science Google tries to calm controversy over app developers having access to your Gmail

08:07  04 july  2018
08:07  04 july  2018 Source:

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Google says it vets these app developers and offers strict user controls over data sharing. By Nick Statt@nickstatt Jul 3, 2018, 7:35pm EDT. The company also reiterates its commitment to vetting those third-party apps and services that have access to sensitive Gmail data.

The article titled “Tech’s ‘Dirty Secret’: The App Developers Sifting Through Your Gmail ” outlines a promise from Google over a year ago in which the Silicon Valley giant claimed that users could “remain confident But while Google may have stopped scanning user inboxes, other developers have not.

a close up of a sign© Provided by The Verge Google has published a new blog post in response to a story from The Wall Street Journal yesterday that detailed how common it is for third-party app developers to be able to read and analyze the contents of a user’s Gmail message. While not offering any substantially new insights into the industry practice, now understood to be quite widespread, Google does outline measures a user and business organization using G Suite can do to protect their privacy and security. The company also reiterates its commitment to vetting those third-party apps and services that have access to sensitive Gmail data.

“A vibrant ecosystem of non-Google apps gives you choice and helps you get the most out of your email,” reads the company’s blog post, written by Suzanne Frey, the director of the company’s Security, Trust, & Privacy division of Google Cloud. “However, before a published, non-Google app can access your Gmail messages, it goes through a multi-step review process 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.”

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Google ’s emailing platform’s access settings allow third-party developers to read nearly every detail from If any third-party app has the right to read your emails, it will have a label called “ Has access to Gmail ” The company has been time and again been at the center of a controversy because of its

According to Google , it provides data only to outside developers it has vetted and to whom users have explicitly granted permission to access email. Google Drive gets a makeover, now resembles Gmail app . The Latest: Greitens team fights turning over his Gmail .

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Frey offers a few tips to ensuring your data is in the hands of trusted sources. Those include reviewing the permissions screen before giving access to a non-Google app and using the company’s Security Checkup tool to check what devices have logged into your account, which third-party apps have access to your Gmail, and what permissions those apps have. She also says Google’s review process is designed to ensure companies and individuals do not misrepresent themselves and only request data relevant to the function they’re providing.

While the WSJ story did not unearth any wrongdoing from third-party apps or services using Gmail, it did shine a light on a previously discreet industry practice now under heavier scrutiny in the aftermath of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal. Facebook gave generous user data access to third-party app developers for years, which created a situation in which tens of millions of people had their personal information packaged and sold to a data mining firm without proper consent. Google is now in the position of having to more actively defend its own data management and user privacy practices, mainly to convince users and businesses that, unlike Facebook, Google is in fact a responsible steward of sensitive user data.

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Some developers have applied for access to Gmail but have not been granted permission, although the company won’t say how many. And as WSJ reports, other email services besides Gmail provide third-party apps similar access , so it isn’t just Google that may have these issues.

App developers can sift through the emails of millions of Gmail users, The Wall Street Journal reports. Google may not be going through your Gmail inboxes anymore, but it’s certainly letting others do it. Similar to other tech giants, Google has also allowed developers to have access to

Last year, Google announced it would stop scanning the contents of Gmail users’ messages for advertising purposes as part of a strategy to make its G Suite offering more attractive to corporate customers. Google saw, well before Cambridge Analytica, that it was not a particularly smart business strategy to target ads based on people’s private conversations, especially when some users don’t have a strong grasp on how Gmail is actually monetized. Frey reiterates this in today’s blog post, where she’s careful to point out how “Gmail’s primary business model is to sell our paid email service to organizations as a part of G Suite,” and that while there are still ads in the consumer version of Gmail, those ads are no longer targeted based on the contents of emails.

“The practice of automatic processing has caused some to speculate mistakenly that Google ‘reads’ your emails,” Frey writes. “To be absolutely clear: no one at Google reads your Gmail, except in very specific cases where you ask us to and give consent, or where we need to for security purposes, such as investigating a bug or abuse.”

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