Securing Gmail’s security and privacy is a top priority for Google, which protects users from malicious or misleading applications.
This is what the company said in a statement, following clarification and advice after yesterday’s “noise” due to the revelation that sometimes third parties can read user emails.
In essence, Google does not deny that this is the case, but it asserts that it has a filtering and control process, and calls on users to be more careful when they give permission to applications to access their data .
The company reports that it allows applications created by other developers -e.g. e-mail client applications, travel agents, and CRM- integrated into Gmail so users have options as to how to access and use their emails.
Google assures that it continuously tries to control and evaluate developers and their applications embedded in Gmail before giving them generic access, while also providing corporate administrators and individuals with transparency and control over the way their data are used.
The company invites users to visit the “Security Check” in their account to check what licenses they have licensed to non-Google apps and, if they wish, to remove them.
Google states that:
“There is a whole, living ecosystem of non-Google applications that give you the choice and help you get the most out of your email. However, before any app that does not belong to Google can access your Gmail messages, it goes through a scrutiny process that includes automated and manual evaluations of its developer, an evaluation of privacy policies and the home page, to be sure that this is a legitimate implementation, as well as a test of its operations, so it is also certain that it works as it should.”
In order for these controls to pass, non-Google applications, according to the company, must meet two basic requirements:
- Apps should not distort their identity but be clear as to how they use user data. They should also not appear as something specific while doing something else. It is still necessary to provide clear and visible information on the protection of users’ privacy.
- Applications should only request the data they need for their specific function and leave no room for doubt as to how they are used.
“We control all non-Google apps to ensure that they continue to respond to our policies and, if they do not, remove them”,
says the company.
It also points out that users can control their data, since before any app that does not belong to Google can access user data, users see an approval page that shows the type of data they can access the application and how it can be used. Users must always check the corresponding image before giving access to their data to any non-Google app.
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