If you’ve been on the internet at all in the past few days, you’ve no doubt seen the stories from many major news outlets warning you that Google’s Gmail is susceptible to 3rd party app developers snooping through your email. With what Facebook has been through in recent months and our collective conscience regarding privacy always being a bit on edge these days, The Wall Street Journal’s article about yet another invasion of privacy has set off a small forest fire of FUD articles using scary headlines to get readers.
We’re not joining in on this.
You can read Google’s retort to the original story, but I’d say you might want to steer clear of some of these articles around the web that want to sensationalize the issue. More transparency with privacy is always a win, for sure, and Google is just as complicit in all this as any other tech giant.
However, Google has made it pretty easy to see who/what has access to your email (which you probably opted in on in the first place) and I’d say an audit of those services is a good idea on a regular basis, not just when there is a mild internet-driven hysteria.
Let’s Learn How To Check This
From time to time, you may opt-in to let a 3rd party app read your email. Usually, those apps are – you guessed it – email clients. In order to allow you to read and respond to emails, 3rd party email apps need to read your email. However, without having thought about it, I had a few different email clients I’d tried over the years that I never thought to revoke access from.
With the app no longer installed, they weren’t seeing new messages, but there’s a good chance they had access to those older ones.
That is until I just went in and fully removed those apps from my Google Account. I’d suggest you do an audit and do likewise. Here’s how to get there.
- Go to google.com and click on the sign in button or your avatar
- Click the blue Google Account button
- Right at the top left, click Sign In & Security
- In the left sidebar, click Apps with account access
- On the right, in the Apps with access to your account section, click MANAGE APPS
- In the first section, you’ll see all the 3rd-party apps with access. Click the app and then REVOKE ACCESS for those apps you don’t use or are unsure about.
That’s it, really. Just like all your search queries and voice searches, everything Google has on you is pretty accessible and removable. I get it, we want all these services without giving up any of our personal data.
Google collects a lot and many people aren’t cool with that. However, that is the trade-off we live with right now. The upside is you can remove any of this data whenever you see fit and it is pretty easy to see all the info Google has on you at any given time.
It is our responsibility in many cases, then, to keep an eye on what/who we give access to and keep our accounts tidied up. Hopefully, this helps you do just that.