Google reportedly allows outside app developers to read people's Gmails

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Privacy matters Google may have promised to stop scanning the inboxes of Gmail users for ad-targeting purposes a year ago, but it still lets third-party app developers read your private messages.

Gmail is the world's most popular email service with 1.4 billion users.

Today in Of Course Silicon Valley Doesn't Care About You, we have Google confirming that "human staff" are allowed to read users' private emails under certain circumstances.

Nearly exactly a year ago, Google promised to stop scanning your inbox to serve up ads in Gmail, but as the Journal's article details, executives of the vetted third-party companies claimed that their employees would read millions of emails and that it was "common practice".

Normally, computers scan and analyse over 100 million emails per day, but Google allows third-party software to electronically scan the inboxes of millions of Gmail users.

Users also have few controls over what third-party developers can do once they're granted access to an account.

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To recall, Google back in 2017, said its computers will soon stop reading the emails of its Gmail users to personalise their ads.

To find out and edit which third-party apps have access to your Gmail account, head to the My Account page and login.

There is no suggestion that the named tech companies have misused email data. "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".

Google allows software developers from outside the company to read through users' inboxes. Something else that's unclear is whether Gmail users are fully aware that individual employees may be reading their emails, as opposed to an automated system. Email managing firms Return Path and Edison Software are few of the trusted companies. These apps only have basic profile information - like your name and email address - so that you don't have to sign up for yet another website account that you have keep track of.

Neither of these two companies sought explicit permission from the users to read their emails but say that it is covered under their user agreements.

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