Ever since the Facebook was accused of doing less than necessary to monitor data flow between the system and third parties, regulators across the world started paying more attention. Google has sent a letter to US senators that was made public on Thursday. In said letter, Alphabet Inc.’s said Google was relying on an automated system to scan Gmail add-ons after their launch. Additionally, reports from security researchers are also taken into consideration, but Google “did not respond to lawmakers’ request to say how many have been caught violating the company’s policies“, reports Reuters
The issue at hand is whether Gmail add-ons, or how many, are actually scanning user correspondence. Add-ons could read and identify flight or hotel information in your e-mail and offer better prices or alternatives. This not only requires Google sharing data with third parties, but third parties sharing data with fourth parties as well.
Senators may need further clarification, as a Commerce Committee hearing is scheduled for September 26. The topic is privacy practices, and those concerned are Google, Apple Inc, AT&T and Twitter. Google did not comment on the matter.
User consent is required for add-ons operate, and, under Google’s policies, add-ons makers must inform users about how they collect and share Gmail data. Google said in the letter that it has already suspended apps due to “a lack of transparency to users”. However, the Gmail provider did not name the violators, or revealed when enforcement actions took place.