Google Confirms It Allows Third-Party Devs To Snoop Your Gmail Data

In a letter sent to US lawmakers, Google reaffirmed its policy of allowing third-party app developers to access private information belonging to Gmail users, so long as the developers are upfront about the data they are collecting. It comes with the territory of allowing third-party apps to integrate with Gmail, as ultimately it is up to the users to make sure they fully understand exactly what permissions they are granting.

The policy has drawn increased attention over the past several weeks, especially in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Back at the beginning of July, Google felt compelled to pen a blog post discussing security and privacy within Gmail. The company insisted that keeping Gmail secure is its "top priority," and went on to explain its vetting process, which entails ensuring that apps accurately represent themselves and only request relevant data.

Around the same time, Google sent a letter defending its position to members of Congress. The contents of that letter have now been obtained by CNNMoney.

"Developers may share data with third parties so long as they are transparent with the users about how they are using the data," Susan Molinari, VP of public policy and government affairs for the Americas at Google, stated in the letter.

Molinari also claimed in the letter that Gmail users can easily review the privacy policy before deciding whether to grant access to third-party apps, and can view or remove app access on their Google account page if they change their mind.

The letter basically doubles down on what Google already stated in its blog post on the topic. However, navigating the settings and changing privacy controls isn't necessarily straightforward, especially for less savvy users. We wrote a guide several weeks ago on how to manage Gmail controls, and you should check it out if you want to adjust your settings.