Tuesday, July 3, 2018

GMAIL USERS BEWARE Developers Read Your Email Reports An Investigation

GMAIL USERS BEWARE Developers Read Your Email Reports An InvestigationYour private emails are being read by third-party Gmail app developers, an investigation into data privacy has revealed.

Developers behind a number of popular online services designed to work with Gmail trawl through private messages sent and received from your email address, it claims.

It is common practice for some of these third-party app creators to instruct employees to read personal emails.

One app, which is designed to help users manage their Gmail inbox, lets employees read 'thousands' of emails, the Wall Street Journal investigation found.

According to experts, this 'dirty secret' is now common practice among some firms.

The revelation comes just a few months after it was revealed political data firm Cambridge Analytica had siphoned private data from third-party apps on Facebook.

According to the investigation into Gmail, the hugely-successful Google email client allows third-party developers to scan the inbox of anyone who installs their app.

These apps can provide additional functionality to the Gmail inbox, like the ability to compare prices from different online retailers, or quickly unsubscribe from any marketing emails sent to your address.

The Wall Street Journal report was based on the testimonies of more than two dozen employees of companies who create services around Gmail – the most popular email service in the world, with 1.2 active monthly users.

One company involved in this practice is New York-based firm Return Path, which helps marketers drive revenue through email.

Last year, Return Path employees trawled through 8,000 personal emails as part of an effort to train the company's software, according to anonymous sources.

Employees at Mountain View-based Edison Software also reviewed the emails of hundreds of thousands of users while building a new feature for their mobile app, which is designed to help people organise their emails.

Neither company asked users for permission to read users' messages but say the practice is covered by user agreements.

'Some people might consider that to be a dirty secret,' Thede Loder, the former technology officer at eDataSource, which provides competitive intelligence for email marketing, told the Wall Street Journal.

However, he said this type of behaviour was now 'common practice'.

The question of data privacy has been an increasingly important issue since Facebook's Cambridge Analytica controversy.

The social network allowed third-party apps to request permission to access users' data, as well as data of all their Facebook friends.

This enabled developers to mine the private information of 87 million Facebook users, when only 270,000 people had used the service and granted permission.

Almost anyone can build an app that connects to Gmail accounts using an application programming interface (API).

(C) Daily Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5912763/Gmail-users-beware-party-developers-READING-private-messages.html

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