Google, whose Gmail service is the most popular of its kind at over a billion active users, has insisted that its current developer policies cover this practice. The report further states that not only can the companies developing products and services read users private emails, it also includes all their employees too.
Google is allowing app developers to sift through your Gmail account. Some allow people to write emails in special fonts, or to make it easier to find images to send to others, while others make it easier for people to organise their emails into folders.
Those with accounts connected to third-party apps are subject to this potential use of humans, BBC News reported Tuesday.
This might be somewhat confusing to some people, as Google stated past year that it would stop using computer algorithms to scan your email for personalization data.
Google's developer agreement prohibits exposing a user's private data to anyone else "without explicit opt-in consent from that user". This company collects data for marketers through this scanning. 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.
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The revelation comes a year after Google announced it would stop scanning Gmail inboxes for information to personalize advertisements, claiming it wanted users to "remain confident that Google will keep privacy and security paramount". The Journal mentions two companies that have such practices in place, including Return Path, a marketing company, and Edison Software, which makes a mobile email app.
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. The search giant even rolled out new features for Android users that give them better control over privacy settings in their Gmail accounts.
Google plainly states, that "When you give an app full account access, it can see and change almost all information in your Google Account".
While these kind of apps do ask for user consent, numerous forms don't make it explicitly clear that a human will be reading through your emails, not just a machine.