Sep 20, 2018

Google is still letting apps scan, share data from Gmail accounts

Photo: Nasir Kachroo/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In a letter received by lawmakers in July and obtained by Axios, Google said it has continued allowing apps to collect and share data from Gmail accounts even though lawmakers have raised questions about privacy and possible abuse of user data, reports the WSJ.

Why it matters: Google has been drawing the ire of users, employees, and lawmakers in recent months over some of its practices and for failing to send a senior-enough executive to a hearing on privacy and tech issues earlier this month. Google is expected to face lawmakers at a contentious hearing next week with the Senate Commerce Committee.

The details: As long as app companies are "transparent" with users about how the data is used, Google allows the apps to share data with third parties.

  • Google did not respond to questions lawmakers asked about how many times it has suspended an app for breaking its rules or detailing the times an app has shared data with a third party.

The intrigue: The particular rub, not just for Google but for tech giants allowing the email scanning, is that some have said they stopped this practice when in reality they have continued it.

Go deeper: The big picture: How tech companies snoop through your messages

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Why it matters: This decision came at the conclusion of a protracted argument between players, clubs and even government officials over who should bear the brunt of lost revenue in the midst of the pandemic.

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Why it matters: Many startups are rethinking the viability of their core businesses in the wake of the coronavirus. Spaces' move is one of many such pivots likely to crop up in the coming months.