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Apps In Gmail Have Full Access To Read Your Emails

By July 13, 2018June 3rd, 2022Cybersecurity

File this one away under “watch your permissions.”  It’s recently come to light that an unknown number of third party apps have access to read emails sitting in your Gmail account.

While the practice is not new, things like this are coming under increased scrutiny in the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica incident.

Here are the important details to bear in mind:

  • Apps that can read your email DO require explicit user permissions. You have to agree to allow these apps access to your Gmail account.
  • Once you do allow access, you’re giving both humans and computers access to not only read your messages but create new folders and even send emails out using your account. These details are generally buried in the fine print, and most users don’t realize exactly what they’re allowing when they accept.
  • Google has not made exact figures known, so it’s unclear exactly how many apps on the Play Store currently have this permission, nor is it known how many apps were denied in Google’s vetting process.
  • Currently, there are no known instances of a third party abusing Gmail permissions and doing anything inappropriate with the data they’re being given access to.
  • It’s not just Google. Most major free email providers have similar arrangements.
  • You can check your permissions via your smartphone and revoke access to any app that looks suspicious, or that you’re not comfortable giving that level of permission to. The downside, of course, is that revoking permissions will probably cause the app to stop working.

As ever, ensuring your privacy requires a proactive approach.  It’s foolish to assume that a company (any company) will be as careful with your privacy as you would be personally.  Be aware and stay vigilant.  At the end of the day, that’s the best way to minimize intrusions to your privacy.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.