Although Google has promised users it would not read Gmail users’ emails, the company has done little to stop or police third-party software developers from accessing and reading emails, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Inboxes of people who sign up for free apps—like travel itinerary-makers or online shopping price comparisons—are vulnerable to being scanned to develop new software or to collect data for marketers. Computers automatically scanning millions of emails and employees reading them has become a “common practice” and “reality,” with developers claiming the practice is often covered in the service’s user agreement. Google also claims the data is only available to outside developers who have been “vetted.” Another internet giant, Facebook, was recently embroiled in a user data uproar of its own—the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where user data was utilized for political means like targeted advertising.
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