Monday, 20 May 2019 09:50

Google storing details of purchases made by Gmail users

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Google storing details of purchases made by Gmail users Pixabay

Gmail users are finding that details of all their purchases are being stored within their Google account, even though they do not use Google Pay, a post on Reddit claims.

The data is stored under Payment and Subscriptions and it is not only Google-related purchases — like a Google One subscription — but anything ordered for which an email has arrived in the Gmail account in question, one user said.

The only way this could happen is if Gmail scans every email that comes into an account.

Google's sneaky behaviour has been documented in these columns before; last week, a report said that Google was hiding privacy settings in its Google Pay app from users.

As iTWire has reported, Google tracks an individual's location even location tracking is turned off on a mobile device.

Last week, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai claimed: "To make privacy real, we give you clear, meaningful choices around your data. All while staying true to two unequivocal policies: that Google will never sell any personal information to third parties; and that you get to decide how your information is used." (emphasis mine).

But this behaviour from within Gmail seems to contradict that.

One of the Reddit users in the thread wrote: "I've had all Google settings, web, apps, maps, etc, set to NOT keep history for years now and I delete emails ASAP, yet when I purchased a new phone and had to setup Google Assistant in order to turn off settings and disable things, there was all my old purchases going back 6+ months from Amazon.

"Now I understand Google 'scans' emails but they shouldn't be keeping that information especially when I have gone through all the steps to disable Google history keeping and I've deleted the email and cleared trash.

"That's when I dumped all Google products. I only have the necessary Gmail address to login for Android.

"No matter what Google says, they are keeping your information."

Contacted for comment, a Google spokesperson told iTWire: “To help you easily view and keep track of your purchases, bookings and subscriptions in one place, we’ve created a private destination that can only be seen by you.

"You can delete this information at any time. We don’t use any information from your Gmail messages to serve you ads, and that includes the email receipts and confirmations shown on the Purchase page. We're always working to help people understand and manage their data.”

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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