Gmail, Privacy, and Why We Never Sell User Data

Security

 

Last October, Google announced a series of changes to third party access to Gmail APIs.

We won’t summarize the technical details here, but the changes were intended to tighten privacy requirements for companies accessing your data from Gmail.

The biggest change is that Google is cracking down on companies that mine Gmail data (including scanning your Gmail messages) and then use that data in a way that is unknown to the Gmail user — including selling it to a third party.

As of March 31, any app not in compliance with the new rules will lose access to Gmail’s API.

At cloudHQ, We Never Sold User Data, and Never Will

Millions of users use cloudHQ apps, either through our cloud backup and migration services or the 60+ Gmail add-on ecosystem we offer to our customers.

Many of our users are on free plans, and more than enough customers pay for our premium services to help cloudHQ be a thriving company.

Because we don’t sell user data, or company has a solid reputation that remains in good standings with Google. Our Gmail API access will not close because we follow Google’s rules, respect our users, and would never operate in any way that undermines them.

Here’s what we say about privacy on our support site:

  • “Our privacy policy is simple. Any information we receive from you will never be shared with anyone else, and we’ll never use it for anything without your consent. For example, we don’t share your private information with advertisers or third parties.”

Here’s why we take this approach:

1. We Value Your Trust

The first reason we don’t sell your information is the simplest one: Users trust us not to go digging around in their data as it passes through our applications.

That goes far beyond Gmail. We have apps with integrations to Gmail, Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, OneDrive, Office 365, Sharepoint, Amazon S3, and many others.

Imagine how you would feel if you found out a company was reading all your emails or scanning all the documents in your cloud storage service, for example, then selling that data to companies for advertising purposes.

Would it make you trust that company less?

We believe it would, and it’s a key reason we don’t sell any kind of user data. We believe it would undercut the trust that’s at the core of our business model.

2. It Keeps Us Focused on Delivering Awesome Products

If our business model were entirely based on selling data we mined from our users, we’d be focused mostly on the needs of the people paying our bills.

In other words, our focus would be the people buying data, not on the users themselves.

We want to stay focused on you: our customers.

Our business model allows us to build free services so they provide a tremendous amount of value to any customer using a free plan. If you become a power user or need advanced features, you can upgrade to a paid plan that meets your needs, which supports the cost of providing free users with their services as well.

That keeps us locked in on building the best possible products and services to help you do your work better, faster, and with fewer headaches.

Which is how it should be.

3. We Value Our Partners

As we noted earlier, we use API integrations from dozens of cloud applications, not just Gmail.

While every company has different restrictions on API use, the trend is clear: Companies are getting more protective of their data — and rightfully so.

We believe what’s happening right now with Gmail will happen with other services over time, too. There’s just no incentive for companies to allow third parties to create endless PR nightmares by abusing customer data.

The more stories that come out about improper use of user data, the more incentive reputable companies will have to crack down on abuses of privacy and security.

cloudHQ has always held a higher standard than most cloud application companies, which means we’ve remained compliant with privacy changes as they’ve happened,

4. To Protect Our Business

Finally, part of our decision is simply one of liability. As several well-known companies have learned the hard way recently, privacy policies can change at any time.

Our customers rely on our services to help them get their work done on a daily basis, with a total of  over 1.5 million daily active users.

In the seven years since cloudHQ was founded, we’ve never had to discontinue a service over privacy concerns.

And we want to keep it that way.

How to Know if a Company Is Selling Your Data (Especially from Chrome Extensions)

If you want to know where to look to see if a company is selling your data, look in their privacy policy.

We get it. Privacy policies are long and boring, and who has the time, right? Still, the next time you sign up for a free service, open the text of the privacy policy.

Scan it for a section that talks about “Privacy” or “Data” or “Information we collect” or something similar. If it says anything like “we access information from your data to prepare market research datasets…,” that’s a company that’s scanning your data and selling it to third parties.

We especially recommend doing this for Chrome extensions. They are often created and offered for free specifically as a way to grab data that can be sold to third parties.

As a general reminder, we do not sell user data from any of our services, and all of cloudHQ’s tools are (and always will be) compliant with Google’s privacy requirements — including our Chrome extensions, most of which are free.

We invite you to check them out!

If you’d like to read more about how cloudHQ handles privacy, we invite you to read the following support documents:

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