Home / News & Resources / News & Updates / Has Google put your privacy at risk?

Has Google put your privacy at risk?

  • Posted on

Last week, Google admitted giving hundreds of firms access to your Gmail inbox. Our data breach solicitors look at what happened, and what you can do to protect your data.

In a letter to lawmakers in the US, the multinational technology giant said that third-party developers could both access and share data from Gmail accounts. This means that hundreds of apps (and their human employees) might be able to read your messages and share data from your inbox. Often for marketing purposes.

Google says that it thoroughly vets any third parties that are granted access. But this revelation is bound to concern anyone worried about their data privacy. Especially following the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal.

In a letter, first published in the Wall Street Journal, Google's head of US public policy revealed that: "Developers may share data with third parties so long as they are transparent with the users about how they are using the data".

However, our data breach solicitors are very concerned about this revelation. And, in particular, how it impacts users in the UK. And there are fears that the process of sharing data is not compliant with the Data Protection Act (the UK's interpretation of the GDPR).

At Hayes Connor, we are very worried that data protection regulation has been breached and will be seeking urgent clarification on this matter. If we find that Goggle has put the privacy of its UK customers at risk, our data breach solicitors may launch a group action compensation claim against the company.

What should you do now?

According to Google, you have options around how you grant access to apps. However many people may not be aware that they've given apps such access to their accounts.

If you are in any way concerned it is vital that you review your Gmail permissions immediately.

To do this:

  1. Select "Account" from the app menu in the top right-hand corner of your Gmail account
  2. Under "Sign in & Security, click on "Apps with account access"
  3. See the apps which you've given access to since you created your account
  4. Select 'Manage Apps' to review in more details
  5. If you see an app you don't trust, you can block it by clicking "Remove Access."

Only a year ago, Google pledged to protect its user's privacy and prohibit email scanning. And, while Google has itself stopped scanning Gmail users' email, this latest revelation is bound to cause distress.

Industry experts have called the practice a "dirty secret" while other security experts are surprised that Google permits this practice. Especially when considering the recent increases in data breaches.

If you are in any way concerned we would encourage you to report this issue to the ICO for further investigation. You can do this here.

You call also (securely) register your data with Hayes Connor Solicitors, and we will keep you updated as the outcome of any investigation into this matter.