Over the last twenty fours hours, Google has been facing some increasing concerns in respect to the possibility that the company is collecting data that they should not be. While there is often news reports coming through regarding the collection of data due to various attacks or vulnerabilities, the accusations leveled against Google are far more personal and probably more enraging as they were assumed to be oriented towards younger users, in particular, students.
The news which did come through, detailed that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) had approached the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) seeking an investigation regarding the use of Google’s Chromebooks for Education and the sugegstion that Google was collecting, storing and using student data. While this might seem like something you might expect, as companies tend to collect data in one capacity or another, the accusations suggest Google was collecting non-educational and personal data. The Chromebooks and Chrome apps (Google Apps For Education) in question were said to be effectively data mining the students and without theirs or their parents (direct) consent. Accusations which would seem to go against the Student Privacy Pledge (a program setup to protect students from companies looking to collect or use students personal data), a program that Google is a company who has signed on to.
As you would expect, this is not something that Google was likely to remain silent on for too long and that is exactly the case as the company has today released a blog post on the matter. Although the blog post does not go into specifics on the accusations or what data they might or might not be collecting, the blog does make it clear that Google feels they are not doing anything which breaches any legal or obligatory commitments that they have made. According to the blog posting “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“. Much of the rest of the blog post looks to highlight how Google is focused on protecting student data through the use of Google Apps for Education. Like for instance, how the Google Apps for Education does not include ads and only collects data which could benefit the user, the student, by providing them with their own information, like their internet search history. Those interested can read the full blog posting by heading through the source link below.