According to the reports that we got from our sources, third-party app developers have the ability to read the emails of Gmail users. The access settings of Gmail provide data companies and app developers with a way to see people’s emails and view private details, including recipient addresses, time stamps as well as the messages they get. Even though those apps require consent from users, there is no actual clarity regarding if the consent form will allow humans and not only computers to read the emails.
Google also said that its employees could also read emails but only 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.”
Still, it’s clear that there are a lot of apps with this access, from Salesforce and Microsoft Office to lesser known email apps. If you’ve ever seen a request like the one below when entering your Gmail account into an app, it’s possible you’ve given the app permission to read your emails. And as WSJ reports, other email services besides Gmail provide third-party apps similar access, so it isn’t just Google that may have these issues.
However, Edison Software said in a statement that, “We have since stopped this practice and expunged all such data in order to stay consistent with our company’s commitment to achieving the highest standards possible for ensuring privacy.”