Google Still Spying On Students

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Google Still Spying On Students

Google Chromebooks make up over half of all computers purchased for use in the nation’s schools. About 50 million American students, teachers, and administrators use Google Apps for Education, free software that offers email, a calendar, word processing, and more.

google-is-watchingGoogle, along with 200 other companies, signed the Student Privacy Pledge, a binding agreement that is supposed to stop data mining by private companies. But the nonprofit advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a complaint with the FTC accusing Google of data mining and of being in violation of the Student Privacy Pledge.

Google is supposed to refrain from collecting information from students’ school computer browsing history for use in targeting ads. EFF says Google is holding to the agreement on “core” Google Apps for Education services but that Google is gathering and using data when students use peripheral applications like blogging sites, maps, photos, and YouTube.

EFF says Google should abide by its agreement to get permission from students and parents before collecting student browsing data. An EFF attorney says, “All we’re saying is that Google promised to ask first and they failed to do so.”

EFF filed “the complaint as part of a broader campaign called ‘Spying on Students,’” which is an effort to strengthen student privacy laws. (NPR, 12-8-15)