Google Collects, Records and Uses Personal Data of Schoolchildren and Continues Recording Once Students Login From Home

Google Collects, Records, and Uses Personal School Data of Everything Student Users Do.

Kristan T. Harris | The Rundown Live

Google is being accused by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) of violating their commitment to a legally binding Student Privacy Pledge, according to the BBC.

The EFF’s complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) suggests that Google is storing and using student data without parental approval. They believe Google records every “internet site students visit, every search term they use, the results they click on, videos they look for and watch on YouTube, and their saved passwords,” and will continue to follow the student when they login to Google chrome at home.

“The ability to collect and potentially share student information follows children whenever they use Chrome to log into their Google accounts, whether on a parents’ Apple iPad, friend’s smartphone or home computer,” claims the EFF.

The civil liberties organization outlined 3 major infringements to the pledge. “First, when students are logged in to their Google for Education accounts, student personal information in the form of data about their use of non educational Google services is collected, maintained, and used by Google for its own benefit, unrelated to authorized educational or school purposes. Second, the “Chrome Sync” feature of Google’s Chrome browser is turned on by default on all Google Chromebook laptops including those sold to schools as part of Google for Education thereby enabling Google to collect and use students’ entire browsing history and other data for its own benefit, unrelated to authorized educational or school purposes. And third, Google for Education’s Administrative settings, which enable a school administrator to control settings for all program Chromebooks, allow administrators to choose settings that share student personal information with Google and third-party websites in violation of the Student Privacy Pledge.”

The pledge sets guidelines in which school service providers are held accountable to including:

  • Not sell student information
  • Not behaviorally target advertising
  • Use data for authorized education purposes only
  • Not change privacy policies without notice and choice
  • Enforce strict limits on data retention
  • Support parental access to, and correction of errors in, their children’s information
  • Provide comprehensive security standards
  • Be transparent about collection and use of data.

In the request for investigation, the petitioner claims student data collected “includes recording students’ browsing behavior on every single Google-operated site students visit regardless of its relation to schoolwork (that is, Google applications both in and out of the Google Apps for Education suite), records of what students have searched for on the Internet and the results they click on, the videos they search for and watch on YouTube, the browser extensions they have installed, and their saved passwords.”

The EFF fears that “Google not only collects and stores the vast array of student data described above, but uses it for its own purposes such as improving Google products and serving targeted advertising (within non-Education Google services), as Google has represented to EFF.”

Google then follows your children home from school and continues to record data on your “children whenever they use Chrome to log into their Google accounts, whether on a parents’ Apple iPad, friend’s smartphone or home computer,” the legal documents claim.

This data also allows Google to receive behavior trends, interests, concerns and even an inside view into the students home-life.

A Google spokeswoman told the BBC that: “Our services enable students everywhere to learn and keep their information private and secure.”

“While we appreciate EFF’s focus on student privacy, we are confident that these tools comply with both the law and our promises, including the Student Privacy Pledge.”

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