Google's Gmail not safe anymore, here's why

Google's Gmail not safe anymore, here's why

The scrutiny stemmed from a report earlier this week from the Wall Street Journal that "hundreds" of outside software makers could scan your inbox through third-party Gmail apps. Gmail has almost 1.4 billion users globally - more users than the next 25 largest email providers combined.

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.

What is unclear is how closely these outside developers adhere to their agreements and whether Google does anything to ensure they do, as well as whether Gmail users are fully aware that individual employees may be reading their emails, as opposed to an automated system, the report says.

A year ago, Google promised to stop scanning the inboxes of Gmail users but the company has not done much to protect Gmail inboxes obtained by outside software developers, according to the newspaper.

The feature was finally dropped a year ago, in a move welcomed by privacy advocates, but it turns out employees of third-party app developers may well have been reading your private messages.

The opt-in notification users receive. "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".

Even as Facebook struggles to recover from the massive data scandal that wiped off billions of dollars from its market cap, other tech giants aren't breathing easy either.

The other side of the medal is that developers sometimes request permissions that they don't need explicitly and that it is often hard for users to determine whether the request makes sense. The same executives admitting Google's laissez-faire attitude also fingered other email providers like Microsoft and Yahoo as equally culpable, making us wonder just how hypocritical the Redmond giant's "Scroogled" campaign may have been.

One is Return Path, an app that collects data for marketers from users' inboxes.

Although Return Path declined to comment on details of the incident, it did say it sometimes lets employees see emails when fixing problems with its algorithms.

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