Remember that “cool” free Gmail app you installed years ago and then forgot about? It probably still has access to your email, and actual humans might be sifting through them.

RELATED: How to Secure Your Gmail and Google Account

Douglas MacMillan, writing for The Wall Street Journal, re-iterated a problem we’ve been talking about for a while: free applications users give permissions to and then forget about. These apps have full access to your email, and they’re taking advantage.

Here’s MacMillan:

One of those companies is Return Path Inc., which collects data for marketers by scanning the inboxes of more than two million people who have signed up for one of the free apps in Return Pathʼs partner network using a Gmail, Microsoft Corp. or Yahoo email address. Computers normally do the scanning, analyzing about 100 million emails a day. At one point about two years ago, Return Path employees read about 8,000 unredacted emails to help train the companyʼs software, people familiar with the episode say.

Creepy, right? And that’s just one example MacMillan gives.

Think carefully the next time a “free” application asks for access to your Gmail account, or any email account for that matter. And if you haven’t scrolled through Google’s list of Apps with access to your account lately, you should. Immediately.

Seriously, do it now.

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Justin Pot has been writing about technology for over a decade, with work appearing in Digital Trends, The Next Web, Lifehacker, MakeUseOf, and the Zapier Blog. He also runs the Hillsboro Signal, a volunteer-driven local news outlet he founded.
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