After the scandalous Cambridge Analytica case that shook the world, especially the common users, with a sudden fear of how giant social media companies treated their users' data privacy, now Google is facing the questioning, too.
In a letter to members of the Senate Commerce Committee, Google acknowledged that it allows app developers to scan and compile details from Gmail messages, including details about purchases, travel and which other people users interact with.
Google says as long as apps clearly disclose their data collection, they are free to request access to and use Google user data elsewhere.
Typically, the types of apps or Gmail add-ons that request permission to access your email include trip planners, customer relationship manager software, and shopping and discount apps.
A trip planner app, for example, can scan your email to pull and compile all your travel information, reservations, and itineraries in one place, so you don’t have to manage your hotel, airline, and other reservations manually.
Google Handling Their Data Privacy Home Works
“Developers may share data with third parties so long as they are transparent with the users about how they are using the data,” Google said in a letter to the US Senate Commerce Committee, which has been investigating Google’s data-sharing habits since July, as cited by Trusted Reviews.
According to its policies, apps must meet key requirements to pass Google’s review process:
Before any non-Google app can access your data, Google will display a permissions screen to show what data the app is requesting and how the app intends on using such data. And, this is how and why users should be more careful before clicking the 'okay' or 'agree' button.
Your Data, Your Choice
“We strongly encourage you to review the permissions screen before granting access to any non-Google application,” Google wrote in a blog post.
This means, your data privacy is not as safe as you think Google has protected it. Because, if you have agreed to the terms and conditions when you installed non-Google apps or add-ons on your Gmail, even without your full knowledge or awareness, you have given your permission for them to collect and use your data, however they want it.
As internet users that used platforms such as Google and Facebook, we must be aware of what we are doing and giving out on the internet in relation to our privacy for our own safety. After all, security comes from and for ourselves. Why would we trust AI and strangers so much on the internet, while we tend to not do that in our real lives?
Now, as lawmakers doing their jobs to help protect our privacy and rights, we have to do our part, too. Check your Google Account and check what apps you have allowed to having access to your data by looking into the "Sign in and security" then "Apps with account access".