Published: Fri, September 21, 2018
Industry | By Terrell Bush

Google admits it allows developers to collect Gmail data

Google admits it allows developers to collect Gmail data

However, in early July a Wall Street Journal report showed that Google was still letting third-party services access people's Gmail accounts.

Susan Molinari, Google's vice president for public policy and government affairs for the Americas said in the letter, "Developers may share data with third parties so long as they are transparent with the users about how they are using the data".

Gmail requires users to give consent before installing third-party extensions, whose functions vary from helping send emails to getting price-match rebates from retailers.

In a blog post defending how the user's security and privacy are ensured within Gmail, Google said that any app produced by a third-party goes through an extensive review process before it's allowed access to Gmail messages.

Google itself has mined users' emails since Gmail was launched in 2004, but announced a year ago that it would stop the practice, amid privacy concerns and a federal wiretapping lawsuit.

In a letter sent to USA senators back in July, Google says that it allows app developers to scan Gmail accounts and share the results with others.

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In an interview with Good Morning America , Cook was asked about the $1,099 starting price for the forthcoming iPhone XS Max. Cook thinks Facebook's Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal is so big that it warrants "well-crafted regulation".

Gmail has almost 1.4 billion users globally - more users than the next 25 largest email providers combined.

"Developers may share data with third parties so long as they are transparent with the users about how they are using the data", Google's head of US public policy, Susan Molinari, wrote in the letter, according to the Journal.

The main worry, though, is how all this sounds very open-ended when it comes to app developers being able to pass on user data to other third-parties, as long as they are "transparent".

"It 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", Frey noted.

Return Path told the Wall Street Journal at the time that, while it did not explicitly ask users whether it could read their emails, permission is given in their user agreements, which state that the company collects personal information including but "not limited to your name, email address, username and password".

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