Private Gmail Messages Can Be Read by Outsiders Without Per…
Private Gmail Messages Can Be Read by Outsiders Without Permission, Google Confirms
Gmail and Laptop.Image Catalog/Flickr
Wednesday, July 4, 2018 12:25 AM UTC
When sending a message through one’s personal Gmail account, users could be forgiven for thinking that the contents of said message would be private. However, in a shocking admission, Google confirms that third parties can sometimes access these exchanges. Despite the confirmation, the company insists that it isn’t doing anything that goes against its policies.
Google has assured users in the past that neither its algorithms nor its employees will go through a user’s messages in transit or in their inbox. This was intended to build trust, which invasions of privacy tend to shatter. However, this restriction apparently does not apply to staff of third-party companies, Digital Trends reports.
The publication cited a recent article from the Wall Street Journal, where developers were apparently disclosing some of Google’s dirty secrets. One of them is the fact that if users connect their Gmail account to third-party services, the employees of those services can see the messages sent by users.
According to several of the companies that the publication spoke to, some of its employees have actually managed to read thousands of emails, which were supposed to be private. One software firm even admitted to reviewing the emails of hundreds of users to gather data for building a new software product.
As the BBC notes, many are surprised that the search engine company actually allowed this to happen. Security experts are baffled that Google would give permission to outsiders to view its users’ messages. Perhaps the most disturbing fact about this development, however, is the lack of provisions stating that such practices required the permission of users.
In defense of its choices, Google has said that only companies that went through strict vetting procedures are allowed such privileges. The tech firm also noted that users could always stop the data-sharing by going to Security Check-Up and disabling the feature.