Google admits it lets hundreds of other companies access your Gmail inbox

Donna Miller
September 21, 2018

In some cases human employees have manually read thousands of emails in order to help train AI systems which perform the same task.

In a letter to United States senators Susan Molinari, Google's vice president for public policy in the Americas admitted that it lets app developers access the inboxes of millions of users - even though Google itself stopped looking in 2017.

This is different than scanning Gmail for data to be used for ad targeting, a practice that Google put a halt to past year.

Google has given details about its policies for third-party Gmail add-ons but stopped short of fully addressing questions from United States senators about developers who break its email-scanning rules. The information that these app developers seek is the name of products you buy, which friends and co-workers you communicate with the most, and the name of places where you travel. It furthermore claims that the collection policies of the app makers must be completely transparent and the software must first ask the user for permission to collect the data. She added that those developers are also allowed to share the data they have access to as long as they're open about doing so. "[Privacy policies must be] easily accessible to users to review before deciding whether to grant access".

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In the piece, he cited a Cavaliers' game last November in which he was forced to leave the court because he was in the midst of having a panic attack.

Gmail, used by 1.4 billion people, is not the only Google service drawing lawmaker questions about oversight.

The search giant's missive provides a preview into its posture going into next weeks hearing.

It will be interesting to see how Page and Pichai hold up under a thorough lambasting by Congress.

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