It’s reported that there are over 1 billion active monthly users on Gmail, and with all these emails flying back and forth between personal users and businesses, you’d like to think these emails are kept private.
For the most part they are, nobody is really going to be scrolling through your emails late at night ready to take your personal data, but with Gmail add-ons a popular addition to the email client, developers do indeed have the ability to access and read your emails.
So Why, How and to What Extent?
Google has a business in collecting data; whether it be statistics, analytics or personal data – This data is used in it’s search, to predict what you’re looking for, in it’s maps, to improve directional and traffic experience, and in your site visits, to advertise products you’re most likely interested in.
All of this data allows for a better user experience, and in some cases makes it easier to sell you products.
But how much of your data is used? Well in June 2017, Google announced they’d no longer mine your emails for advertising data. That means you wouldn’t see personalized ads depending on what you’ve been emailing (email a friend telling them about your new dog? Perhaps you’d start seeing pet treats more often). So emails are private right? Well, not exactly..
Despite Google ruling out using email data to target users, they still allow third-party developers access to your emails. If a third-party is building add-ons to Gmail that help improve your experience, whether it be scheduling or grammar improvements, they have access to read people’s emails.
Reported initially by Washington Post, hundreds of apps and their developers are able to read entire messages as well as who they are sent to & other additional information.
Is there evidence that they’ve maliciously misused this? No, but for a lot of us the fact that they can read these emails might still be cause for us to take action.
How can I take action?
To ensure your Google account and Gmail is as secure as you’d like it to be, go through the following:
– Go to the security dashboard via your Google account. (Sign in and Security)
– Click on ‘Apps with account access’
– Then ‘Manage Apps’
Had a weird experience with your Gmail account? Send us an email and tell us your story: firstname.lastname@example.org