When downloading an app, users may be asked to grant certain permissions, which often include providing access to their emails to the app developer.
Recent media reporting indicates that third party companies are in some cases given access to users’ Gmail inboxes when the user signs up for email-based services.
Some third party companies have reportedly used computers and, on occasions, employees to scan the email data. The companies stated that they did not require the user’s specific permission as the practice was covered by their user agreements, and that they have strict protocols in place for employees who read emails.
Google has stated that “only apps which have been vetted and are trusted by our organisation are used,” although details of how many apps have access to Gmail have not been disclosed.
There is no indication that third party developers have misused any data to which they have had access. Nevertheless, users are advised to pay close attention to the permissions allowed and who they are granted to.
It should be noted that apps which may have only been used once in the past may still provide access to a user’s emails.