Google says it continues to allow apps to access Gmail user data

Google says it continues to allow apps to access Gmail user data
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Google said in a letter to senators that it still allows app developers to scan and share data from users' Gmail accounts.

The letter, which was sent in July in response to questions posed by top Senate Republicans about potential misuse of information in user emails, said that while Google stopped scanning emails for ad targeting, developers still have access to accounts. Google released the email to the public on Thursday.

Susan Molinari, Google's vice president for public policy and government affairs for the Americas, explained that access is restricted.

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“Developers may share data with third parties so long as they are transparent with the users about how they are using the data,” she wrote in the letter.

The letter, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, also included details on how third-party email apps are vetted, including reviewing privacy policies and monitoring app behavior changes.

Privacy officials from Google, as well as Apple, Amazon, Twitter, AT&T and Charter Communications, are due to speak in front of the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday.

Google had previously declined to send CEO Larry Page to a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing earlier this month.

Asked for comment, a Google spokesperson referred The Hill to a blog post from July outlining the company's policies on Gmail data sharing.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Hillicon Valley: Twitter shares more details on political ad rules | Supreme Court takes up Google-Oracle fight | Pentagon chief defends Microsoft cloud contract House, Senate announce agreement on anti-robocall bill MORE (R-S.D.), Sen. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerMicrosoft embraces California law, shaking up privacy debate Trump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition Pay America's Coast Guard MORE (R-Miss.) and Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranMicrosoft embraces California law, shaking up privacy debate It's time for Congress to establish a national mental health crisis number Overnight Defense: Top diplomat changes testimony to indicate quid pro quo | Dem offers measure on Turkish human rights abuses in Syria | Warren offers plan to address veteran suicide rates MORE (R-Kan.) had sent a letter expressing concern over data abuse to Google in July. 

“Furthermore, though no allegations of misuse of personal email data akin to the Cambridge Analytica case have surfaced, the reported lack of oversight from Google to ensure that Gmail data is properly safeguarded is cause for concern," they wrote.

The Cambridge Analytica case, in which a political consulting firm improperly obtained 87 million Facebook users’ data, has been one of the main drivers of concern from the Commerce Committee related to data use.

The letter also questioned how Google would handle third parties, pushing the company to explain what safeguards it implements to ensure personal email content isn't exposed.

Molinari Response to Thune-Wicker-Moran Letter Re WSJ Article by blc88 on Scribd