To be clear, when you authorize — even unknowingly — third-party websites (sites) and applications (apps) to get access to your Google and/or Google My Business (GMB) account, they can and do access, copy, and store sensitive personal and (in some instances) proprietary data. It’s their business model after all. “Personal data” refers to information such as financial statements, medical/health records, legal documents, and genetic information. Additionally, if permitted, third-party sites and apps with access to your Google account(s) can and do view, edit, and change information in your account.Third party websites and apps can get access to view your personal information. Click To Tweet
Personal Data Protection Strategies
Third-party sites & apps with access to your account
To help you safely share your data, Google lets you give third-party sites and apps access to different parts of your account. Third-party sites and apps are created by companies or developers that aren’t Google.
For example, you may download an app that helps you schedule workouts with friends. This app may request access to your Google Calendar and Contacts to suggest times and friends for you to meet up with.
What sites and apps can request
Sites and apps can request different kinds of access to your Google Account, including requests to:
- See your basic profile information: Many sites and apps only request access to basic info, including your name, email address, and profile picture. You grant access to this info when you choose to “Sign in with Google” on sites and apps that have this feature. Sharing this info makes it easier to create an account and helps you avoid creating new passwords.
- See some info in your Google Account: In addition to basic profile information, some sites and apps might also ask for permission to see and make a copy of information in your account. This may include information like your Contacts, Photos, YouTube playlists, and more.
- Edit, upload & create content in your Google Account: In addition to seeing your basic profile and some info in your account, some sites or apps may ask for permission to do even more in your Google Account. This may include editing, uploading, or creating content. For example, a film editing app may edit your video and upload it to your YouTube channel, or an event planning app may create events on your Google Calendar, with your permission.
Full account access
If you give a site or app full account access, it can see and change nearly all information in your Google Account. Full account access means a site or app can see and copy your information, edit or delete it, or create new information. Sites or apps with full access can’t change your password, delete your account, or use Google Pay to send, request and receive money.
Tip: You can see a list of all sites and apps you’ve given account access to in your Google Account. To make it easy to manage access to all your sites and apps, Google apps are listed with third-party apps. For example, you might see that the Google Chrome app you downloaded for your Mac computer has full account access. Google keeps your data private and secure.
Sites and apps may request access to sensitive information
Depending on how you use Google products, some of the information in your account may be extra sensitive. When you give access to third-parties, they may be able to read, edit, delete, or share this private information.
Google products with especially sensitive information include:
- Gmail: Your emails may contain sensitive information, including the names of your contacts, your private correspondence, or an attached copy of a medical report.
- Photos: Your Google Photo albums may have photos that you’d prefer not to share, like pictures of your family or copies of official documents. In addition, many photos are automatically tagged by location and date.
- Drive: There may be private information in Google Drive, like financial records, official reports, and presentations. In addition, if you’ve shared documents with other people, their names and contact information are also in your Google Drive.
- Calendar: Your Google Calendar can have important information about your daily routine, as well as details about private events and appointments.
- Contacts: Your Google Contacts can include the names, phone numbers, addresses ,and contact details of the people you know.
What to consider before giving access
- How secure is this site or app? If the third-party app’s server is hacked, your data may be accessed by unauthorized people. When you allow third-party apps to access your Google Account, they can copy and save your data on their own servers. Because Google can’t protect the data on another company’s servers, your data may be subject to greater data security and privacy risks.
- How will this site or app use my data? The data may be used by the app in ways that are not obvious, such as being shared with others.
- Can I delete my data from this site or app? Depending on the app, you may not be able to quickly or automatically delete your data from their servers. It may also be difficult to delete the account you created on the app.
- Will this site or app tell me if something changes? The site or app may not directly notify you if it changes its policies and practices.
- Who else can see my data on this site or app? Some third parties may have individuals who look at your Google Account information, including emails you write or your contacts.
Remove site or app access
If you gave account access to a site or app you no longer trust, you can remove its access to your Google Account. The site or app won’t be able to access any more info from your Google Account, but you may need to request that they delete the data they already have.
- Open the Apps with access to your account section of your Google Account. You might need to sign in.
- Choose the site or app you want to remove.
- Choose Remove Access.
Report a site or app
If you believe a site or app is misusing your data, like creating spam, impersonating you or using your data in harmful ways, you can file a report.