In a recent blog post, Google has addressed concerns raised by recent reports about the ability of some third-party applications to read Gmail inboxes. Such concerns regarding user privacy were first raised after The Wall Street Journal published a story which claims that Gmail users who sign up for email-powered services such as online planners, discount alert systems, and price comparison solutions are at risk of potential privacy violations. The search giant said that users have the ability to review and remove permissions that they have previously granted to third-party applications with the help of Google’s Security Checkup tool. With this tool, users can review the data that applications gather from their Gmail inboxes and learn of apps with high-risk permissions. However, the search giant is still advising users that before granting access to third-party applications, they should first thoroughly inspect all permissions that any particular app is requesting.
On the other hand, administrators can control which connected apps can collect data from G Suite users by creating a whitelist of trusted applications which prevents users from giving access to apps that have not been reviewed by their organizations. Furthermore, the search giant’s support website states that administrators have the ability to remove app access to G Suite user data.
Moreover, Google stated that it rigorously screens and reviews third-party applications before they can be published. As part of the review process, applications would have to go through a set of automated and manual tests which assess their privacy policies and behavior. Applications should also satisfy two important criteria set by the search giant. The first requirement states that they should accurately represent themselves, i.e. be transparent about how and why they’re accessing certain data such as Gmail inbox contents. The second requirement states that an app should only request data that is necessary for the services that it offers. Google also noted that it is regularly reviewing applications and suspends any that violate its policies.