If you haven’t figured out yet that Google goes through all your stuff to find out all about you, then you haven’t been paying attention. So it should be no surprise that they scan your emails looking for interesting things that could be used to market products to you. (Along with your calendar, contacts, searches, and Google docs.)
But for the most part, this is all automated… computers scanning for keywords and phrases, not a human being reading your juicy love letters. However, like Facebook, Google has set up ways for you to also share this information with third parties – usually in ways that primarily help you in some way. For example, there’s a service called Earny that scans your emails for receipts and helps you find refunds on products you buy. That’s convenient, right? Unfortunately, these third party agreements can also allow for much more access than you were counting on. And this includes the ability for real live human beings to read your emails.
This is the classic Facebook quiz thing… you sign up for something fun and seemingly innocuous, not realizing the level of access you’re granting them in the process. This is what gave us the Cambridge Analytica scandal. And there are probably many more out there waiting to be uncovered.
What do you do? Well, you need to review the permissions on your Google account. And while you’re at it, you should also check Facebook. If you don’t use it any more, delete it. If not, review what permissions you have and dial them down to the minimum.
And then you should seriously consider ditching Facebook and Google. No, seriously… look into it. Read these articles. There are other viable options whose business isn’t about getting all up into yours.