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

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If you want to be able to use a mail app on your computer to manage your Gmail account or your Google calendar, it needs to be able to read and delete messages or appointments. Millions of people are believed to have installed Gmail apps. According to the WSJ report, marketing firms have caught on and have created apps to mine this data (after getting user consent of course).

Google "does little to police those developers, who train their computers - and, in some cases, employees - to read their users' emails", the Journal reported. Both companies have used their email access to enhance their products and build new technology, representatives told the Wall Street Journal.

If you want to find out which apps have access to your account information, it's rather simple. Now responding on the issue, the search giant Google has released an official blog post clearing its stance on the issue. 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.

For example, the report said, a company called Return Path Inc. collects data for marketers "by scanning the inboxes of more than two million people who have signed up for one of the free apps in Return Path's partner network using a Gmail, Microsoft Corp. or Yahoo email address". And once they've finished using the service, they may not remember that they gave a developer ongoing access to read their emails. All the top tech companies are under pressure in the United States and in Europe to do more to protect user privacy and to be more transparent about any parties with access to people's data. Frey maintained that although its automated data processing has cast a shadow over its privacy practices, "no one at Google reads your Gmail", save for specific instances which may warrant the scanning of emails for various purposes like investigating a bug or abuse. However, that level of anonymisation doesn't seem to apply to its third party developers.

"We strongly encourage you to review the permissions screen before granting access to any non-Google application", the Internet giant suggested. Gmail's primary business model is to sell our paid email service to organizations as a part of G Suite.

Tobok says when Google, Apple and the like are vetting apps, they focus on the quality of the app and whether the company can fix defects.

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