Google responds to lawmaker concerns over Gmail scanning

Doris Richards
September 21, 2018

And what's more, the firm is okay with that data being further shared with others, with one proviso - Molinari wrote a letter to Senators stating that: "Developers may share data with third parties so long as they are transparent with the users about how they are using the data".

"Using software tools provided by Gmail and other email services, outside app developers can access information about what products people buy, where they travel and which friends and colleagues they interact with the most", reports the Wall Street Journal. "The reported lack of oversight from Google to ensure that Gmail data is properly safeguarded is cause for concern", the committee said at the time. Being upset that Google lets developers access this data is like someone in a high-rise being mad at their doorman for letting UPS into the building.

Omnipresent tech giant Google told USA senators that it lets third-party apps read data from Gmail accounts and share this information with marketers, even though Google itself allegedly stopped this practice previous year.

Google itself has mined users' emails since Gmail was launched in 2004, but announced past year that it would stop the practice, amid privacy concerns and a federal wiretapping lawsuit. 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. If the company detects changes in the app's behavior, it will manually review that app and unverify it if it's determined to be in violation of Google's terms. And the company says that it makes sure that these policies are easily found by Gmail users so they can be reviewed by them before deciding to allow the information to be used.

Senators may seek further clarity on Gmail's operations at a Commerce Committee hearing about privacy practices scheduled for September 26 with officials from Google, Apple Inc, AT&T Inc and Twitter Inc.

That report won the attention of US lawmakers, who asked Google to explain what it was up to.

Nevertheless, Google's defense assumes that people actually read all details in an app's privacy policy, when many of them can be long and hard to read.

The committee is expected to question the companies on their consumer-data privacy practices.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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