GMAIL'S BEVVY of third-party app developers could be reading your emails, according to reports.
The Wall Street Journal (paywalled) reports that third-party apps have access to users Gmail accounts and permission to read people's emails.
Though users have to give consent to have their data seen, the wording is such that it's not clear that they mean humans, as opposed to computers doing the reading.
What makes this more fun is that, according to statements from the Googletron, obtained by The Verge, the company is well chill innit.
It says that there is a vetting process to get access to that sort of information and it's by no means lip-service - developers can and do fail the vetting process.
But for them that pass, as long as they give a warning that emails will be monitored in the permissions, that's it, and there's no differentiation between machine to machine (M2M) analytics and actual people with screens.
Google has, of course, promised to stop reading emails. This was a pledge made by the company after it was realised that the company was using customer data to target ads. Not cool, Google, not cool at all.
So Google has stopped doing that. Except when it does it. To whit, investigating abuse or a bug in the system still means Google staff can read your email. Just like it promised it wasn't and wouldn't and actually was.
Now, let's think back a couple of years - remember Heartbleed? Remember what an absolute MF that was?
In theory, Google could argue to anyone during that time that they needed to read their emails to work out how to stop Heartbleed.
In other words, it'd be ruddy difficult for a good lawyer not to be able to make a case that Google was in its rights. It's almost like we've got no privacy at all….
It's all a far cry from the "Confidential Mode" launched in April.
There are some seriously high profile apps involved in this, but most notable are Return Path and Edison who have both cheerfully admitted that they are using humans to extract data with which to train machine learning tools, and yes, that includes your Gmails.
Ouch. If that doesn't feel right to you, you can withdraw permissions for any app from your Google Account Settings. μ
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