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

Software Developers are Scanning the Inboxes of Gmail Users

Google also defends the practice by saying it gets permission from users before allowing third-party applications to connect to an account. Google itself is very strict about giving employees access to emails and limits it to situations where a security issue or bug requires it, or when users give Google explicit permission to do so according to the Wall Street Journal.

Google users may authorize companies to access account data.

A report from the Wall Street Journal has shed light on the fact that app and software developers can access a users' Gmail account, with the ability to read emails, and that the practice is a common one across email providers. Many of these developers simply want to offer a new email app, help you sift through your emails, or do something else you can't achieve through Gmail's core experience.

Edison Software told the newspaper it had reviewed the emails of hundreds of users to build a new software feature.

It pointed the BBC to its developer policies, which state: "There should be no surprises for Google users: hidden features, services, or actions that are inconsistent with the marketed objective of your application may lead Google to suspend your ability to access Google API Services". Developers swear that manual access is used only оn rare and special occasions and is exclusively to improve customer experience, but we've heard that reasoning enough times to know it's just something PR representatives are forced to say. The first is Return Path, an app that analyzes inboxes of users who have signed up for one of the free apps in its partner network using a Gmail, Microsoft Corp. or Yahoo email address. "Just like Facebook, Google bears responsibility for the misuse of personal data by app developers".

They were then able to read and scan private emails to target adverts.

You can opt out of data sharing in some cases - or you can stop using the service. 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.

"As anyone who knows anything about software knows, humans program software - artificial intelligence comes directly from human intelligence", Return Path founder Matt Blumberg wrote, adding that the company takes "great care to limit who has access to the data, supervise all access to the data, deploying a Virtual Safety Room, where data can not leave this VSR and all data is destroyed after the work is completed".

Google was yet to comment on the report.

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