GOP Senators Press Google on Gmail Data Sharing - Multichannel

GOP Senators Press Google on Gmail Data Sharing

Say they need answers by July 24
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Republican Senate leaders said Larry Page has some explaining to do.

That came in a letter to the CEO of Alphabet (parent company of Google) in the wake of a Wall Street Journal report that third-party app developers had access to Gmail accounts, including being able to read emails.

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They cited one example in which a third-party developer gave 8,000 unredacted emails to analysts to train its algorithms.

It is only the latest in a string of data privacy issues facing major edge providers. Facebook is also under the klieg lights in D.C. for, among other things, sharing user data with Cambridge Analytica.

Signing on to the letter were Commerce Committee chair Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.); Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chair of the Communications Subcommittee; and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) chair of the Consumer Protection Subcommittee.

They are looking for information on the company's privacy policy and practices around Gmail. Among their concerns is that Google did not properly ensure that its data was properly safeguarded.

Related: Thune, Nelson Want Answers From Facebook

“While we recognize that third-party email apps need access to Gmail data to provide various services, and that users consent to much of this access, the full scope of the use of email content and the ease with which developer employees may be able to read personal emails are likely not well understood by most consumers," they said.

Related: Edge Providers Targeted With EU Privacy Complaints

Among the questions they have for Page are whether there are any data protection policies app developers must agree to to access the Gmail data, and whether Google allows its employees to access the content of Gmail users' personal emails, and whether any app developer has shared data with a third party for any reason.

They want answers, in writing, by 5 p.m. July 24.

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