Google Admits Third-Party Apps Can Read Your Gmail

Google has moved to assure Gmail users that their inboxes are private and secure. However, in doing so it has admitted that third-party apps can read your Gmail, and that this is all your fault. After all, you’re the one giving developers access.

For many years, Google analyzed the emails passing through your Gmail inbox for advertising purposes. However, in 2017, Google announced it was going to stop scanning your emails altogether. Unfortunately, that doesn’t apply to third-party apps.

Can Developers Read My Gmail?

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article claiming software developers “scan hundreds of millions of emails of users who sign up for email-based services.” This includes an accusation that some developers allow employees to read emails.

Google was quick to fire back, making it clear that no one at the company reads your emails. However, in a post on The Keyword, Google admits that third-party apps can indeed access the content of your Gmail account once you give them permission.

The fact is that whenever you allow a third-party app to access your Gmail account, you’re opening yourself up to the possibility that someone, somewhere is reading your emails. It may never happen, but once access has been granted you can never be 100 percent sure.

Google insists that all apps face “a multi-step review process that includes automated and manual review of the developer, assessment of the app’s privacy policy and homepage to ensure it is a legitimate app, and in-app testing to ensure the app works as it says it does.”

You Control Your Own Data

The point is that you are in control of your data at all times. When you add an app to Gmail you’re shown what permissions that app is requesting, and you can refuse. Unfortunately, that usually means not being able to use that app at all.

If you’re concerned that you have granted dodgy developers access to your Gmail you can view and control permissions you have previously granted on And if you find any you either no longer use or trust you can revoke those permissions.

Image Credit: Chris Schrier/Flickr

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