Google accused of spying on students

Posted on December 8, 2015

 

Google has been implicated in compromising the privacy of school students via laptops powered by its Chrome internet browsing software.

Worldwide digital rights organisation The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a December 1 complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, which painted a picture of the corporation as a “two-faced opportunist”, according to CBC News Canada.

The allegations state that the search company set up their Chromebook laptops in such a way as to let it harvest data regarding the internet search habits and online video history to improve its services.

The complaint goes on to state that Google’s collection and dissection of the data breaks its ‘Student Privacy Pledge’ that it put its signature to in 2014. The pledge, which was taken by more than 200 companies, features a guarantee that the personal information of students would not be exploited for purposes unrelated to education.

The EFF is calling upon the FTC to compel Google to stop this practice and destroy any data it has collected so far.

Google complimented the EFF for its concern over the privacy of students, but added that it believed it was following the FTC’s laws. In a statement, it said:

“Our services enable students everywhere to learn and keep their information private and secure.”

Chromebooks have become popular in schools, especially in the U.S., as they retail for around £200 and are therefore within the reach of many students. They are maintained by the company through an internet connection.

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