Google confirms external apps can scan your emails: here's how to check

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Software Developers are Scanning the Inboxes of Gmail Users

Following a Wall Street Journal story about the access third party apps have to Gmail data, we wrote about how to stop it.

Google apps that you have installed.

A recent Wall Street Journal research has found that Google is not doing enough to prevent those developers from reading their users' emails, some of which even train their computers, as well as their employees for the job. No, but third-party apps might be.

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Take a close look at the third-party apps, and what information they collect - some may access your Google contacts, while others might access Google Drive.

In a blog post, Google outlined how it works with outside software developers. The popular email service, which has more than one billion users around the world, gave developers outside the company access to inboxes.

While developers did not explicitly advertise to users that they are able to poke around email inboxes, the companies stressed that the practice is covered in their user agreements. Then, working on machines that prevented them from downloading information to other devices, they read the personal email messages of hundreds of users-with user information already redacted-along with the system's suggested replies, manually indicating whether each made sense.

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Another firm - eDataSource Inc - said engineers had previously reviewed emails to improve its algorithms. According to the report, hundreds of outside developers are being allowed by Google to scan the inboxes of users who have previously signed up for newsletters on various websites.

Google's statement comes amid escalating privacy concerns among users over how big tech companies are using their data. You should be on the safe side with Google apps, which would include apps like Chrome or Google Maps. Gmail's primary business model is to sell our paid email service to organizations as a part of G Suite. The company also said, "We review non-Google applications to make sure they continue to meet our policies, and suspend them when we are aware they do not".

The category that you'll want to pay particularly close attention to, however, are apps that are labeled "Third-party apps with account access". The company said "no-one at Google reads your Gmail, except in very specific cases where you ask us to and give consent, or where [it needs] to for security purposes, such as investigating a bug or abuse".

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