Daily Management Review

Allegations of Deceptively Collecting Student Data Refuted by Google


12/03/2015




Allegations of Deceptively Collecting Student Data Refuted by Google
In a public post defending its privacy protections, Google denied accusations that it deceptively tracks and stores student data through its education services on Wednesday.
 
“While we appreciate the EFF’s focus on student data privacy, we are confident that our tools comply with both the law and our promises, including the Student Privacy Pledge, which we signed earlier this year,” Jonathan Rochelle, Director of Google Apps for Education, wrote in a GAFE blog post. 
 
The Electronic Frontier Foundation alleged that Google routinely violates students’ privacy and the Student Privacy Pledge in a complaint filed to the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday. Student Privacy Pledge is a legally binding agreement that Google and other tech companies had signed back in January in which they promised to only use student data for educational purposes.
 
 “Google collects, maintains, and uses records of essentially everything that student users of Google for Education do on Google services, while they are logged in to their Google accounts regardless of which device or browser they use,” the EFF claimed in its complaint.
 
Improving its product offerings and to serve targeted advertising outside of Google education services were purposes that Google was using the data for, which were beyond the agreed use of improving the educational experience for students, said the EFF.
  
Google uses the data and the information to build “behavioral profiles on students when they navigate to Google-operated sites outside of Google Apps for Education,” that included sites such as Blogger and YouTube, alleged the advocacy group.
 
Google associates this type of browsing activity with students’ educational accounts and then delivers advertising to them on these non-educational sites, the EFF further alleged.
 
Neither student data sourced from the core GAFE services—which include tools such as Gmail, Classroom and Drive—nor students’ Chrome Sync data are used for advertising purposes, Google stressed in its statement. Passing the buck over to the schools, Google said that schools can control whether or not students and teachers use Google sites outside of the GAFE ecosystem.
 
Several parents had concernedly inquired about the privacy of their kids in school following the rise of education tech. this prompted the EFF to launch its new campaign named “Spying on Students”, said EFF’s Staff Attorney Sophia Cope.
 
The purpose of the campaign was to raise awareness about the privacy risks school-issued devices introduce, Cope said.
 
“We realized that this issue is bigger than any single case, so we realized that we needed to have a broad sort of education and campaign to raise awareness about this issue,” said Cope.
  
A failure on the part of schools to understand  how companies are collecting and using student data in sponsored education programs and poor business practices by companies such as Google are the two main issues that have given rise to the problem according to Cope.
 
(Source:www.forbes.com) 






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