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Google has confirmed that anyone who associates a third-party application with their account may, without knowingly allowed third-party developers to read their private email.
US reports raise some questions about the data levels that are accessible and how people are aware that they agree to share private emails.
Gmail, which has 1.4 billion users, is the most popular email service, but Google says it does not violate its policies.
When using the service, users are asked to grant permissions when connecting to third-party tools, such as travel plans and price comparisons, which allow reading and managing email.
Several companies, such as Edison Software and eDataSource Inc, have confirmed that they have read emails to improve their services.
Only companies that have been inspected by Google can access the message, and users must obtain permission to agree to the terms and conditions of the third-party tool.
Google responded that they have alerted users that whenever someone adds an app to their account, they must explicitly grant developers access to their data.
Before anyone can start using these apps, they must agree to include the “View your email while the add-on is running” permission.
Google’s API services policy states that “clear and accurate information explaining the types of data being requested” must be provided by any third-party.
The policy also states that “no surprises for Google users” and warned that hidden features or services may cause access to be withdrawn.
The company wrote,”You are strictly prohibited from engaging in any activity that may deceive users or Google about your use of Google API Services.”
Google said that if users want to stop sharing data with certain apps, they can access the security check page to see the associated apps and change security settings.