Published: Wed, July 04, 2018
Industry | By Jeannie Evans

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

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

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.

Google is allowing app developers to sift through your Gmail account.

Some of these companies train software to scan the email, while others enable their workers to pore over private messages, the report says. Most internet users have more than one email address, including work emails and personal ones.

"Email data collectors use software to scan millions of messages a day, looking for clues about consumers that they can sell to marketers, hedge funds and other businesses", the report added, saying data miners generally have access to other email services besides Gmail.

Google has not yet commented on the issue.

The revelation could not have come at a worse time as, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, software companies are taking extra steps to protect data privacy of its users. In most cases, the people who signed up for the special price-comparison deals and other programs agreed to provide access to their inboxes as part of the opt-in process.


"Data-mining companies commonly use free apps and services to hook users into giving up access to their inboxes without clearly stating what data they collect and what they are doing with it, according to current and former employees of these companies", the report said.

"In another case, employees of Edison Software, another Gmail developer that makes a mobile app for reading and organizing email, personally reviewed the emails of hundreds of users to build a new feature, says Mikael Berner, the company's CEO", the report said.

The very first thing that you may want to do is open the Permissions page for your Google Account to make sure that only legitimate applications and services have access to it. Google told The Verge, which reported on the story of the Wall Street Journal, that all companies are vetted before they are allowed to request user data.

Google indicated that the practice was not against its policies.

But everyone who spoke to the Journal confirmed that the practice is specified in their user agreements and they have implemented strict rules for employees regarding the handling of email.

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