Google Accused of Mining Children’s Data Using School-Issued Laptops

2 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

EFF: Google ‘Deceptively’ Collects Students’ Personal Data.

If there’s one place where Google’s low-cost notebooks running Chrome have caught on, it’s in schools: 3.4 million Chromebooks were shipped to the educational sector in 2014, with the majority of those ending up in the hands of students. Google has been “deceptively” collecting and mining school children’s personal information, including their Internet searches, according to The Electronic Frontier Foundation.

In a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission, the EFF alleges that the “Sync” feature of Google’s Chrome Web browser is enabled by default on Chromebooks sold to schools, allowing the Web giant to track and store on its servers “records of 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.” While Google does not use this information for targeted advertising, the Web giant can mine the data for “non-advertising purposes,” the group said. And there’s a good chance parents don’t know about — and can’t prevent — this data collection, since Google doesn’t obtain permission from students and their parents, and some schools require students to use Chromebooks, the EFF says.

EFF staff attorney Nate Cardozo said: “Despite publicly promising not to, Google mines students’ browsing data and other information, and uses it for the company’s own purposes. The group also claims these data-collection practices violate the Student Privacy Pledge, a legally enforceable document Google and other companies signed promising to refrain from collecting, using, or sharing students’ personal information except when needed for legitimate educational purposes, or with parental permission. Minors shouldn’t be tracked or used as guinea pigs, with their data treated as a profit centre.” The complaint is backed by EFF’s “Spying on Students” campaign, following research into the privacy risks of using electronic devices and services. Google provides a suite of tools for schools and higher education that mirror those available to businesses and consumers, allowing them to offload some of the IT infrastructure to a paid-for cloud-based service.

The feature allows users to ensure they’ve got the same browser setup regardless of which computer they’re on, and in order to sync settings across the Internet, Google needs to upload those settings to its servers. Last month, Google said more than 50 million students and teachers around the globe were using Google Apps for Education, along with 10 million Chromebooks. If Google wants to use students’ data to ‘improve Google products’ it needs to get express consent from parents.” We have asked Google to comment on this and are waiting for a response.

The EFF, meanwhile, is very vocal, saying that settings on Chromebooks allow personal information to be shared with third parties, and that this effectively lets the firm stalk kids around the internet. The EFF FTC Complaint – Google for Education said that the FTC will be its saviour, and will help enforce, or nurture, a system where technology is embraced by schools in a positive way. “We commend schools for bringing technology into the classroom.

Making such promises and failing to live up to them is a violation of FTC rules against unfair and deceptive business practices.” Google’s Chromebooks, which run a stripped-down operating system based around the company’s Chrome browser and as such have very low system requirements, have found success in education where they can be bought for significantly lower cost than most other computers. Google aggregates and anonymizes the data collected through its education services, the EFF said, but not when the students are using other Google services. And it argues that truly anonymizing data is “difficult to the point of being impossible,” especially when it’s tied to identifiable accounts at the time of collection. Google declined to discuss the specifics of the EFF’s allegations but provided a statement: “Our services enable students everywhere to learn and keep their information private and secure.

It had an issue with the way the Chrome Sync feature in the Chrome browser is turned on by default in Chromebooks and shares student data across different Google services.

Here you can write a commentary on the recording "Google Accused of Mining Children’s Data Using School-Issued Laptops".

* Required fields
All the reviews are moderated.
Our partners
Follow us
Contact us
Our contacts

ICQ: 423360519

About this site