January 15, 2016

Google Proves My Concerns Valid

Some time ago, I wrote about how I am concerned about my child having a Google Chromebook for use in school. A short time later I followed it up with how Google collects data on our kids; my feeling is that the schools should not be accepting "free" software that is not actually free.

Recently the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a complaint with the FTC:
...the primary thrust of our complaint focuses on how Google tracks and builds behavioral profiles on students when they navigate to Google-operated sites outside of Google Apps for Education. We’ve tried to explain this issue in both our complaint and our FAQ, but given its significance we think it’s worth explaining again... 
...when a student logs into their educational account, and then uses Google News to create a report on current events, or researches history using Google Books, or has a geography lesson using Google Maps, or watches a science video on YouTube, Google tracks that activity and feeds it into an ad profile attached to the student’s educational account—even though Google knows that the person using that account is a student, and the account was created for educational purposes.  
This is our biggest complaint about Google’s practices—that despite having promised not to track students, Google is abusing its position of power as a provider of some educational services to profit off of students’ data when they use other Google services—services that Google has arbitrarily decided don’t deserve any protection. 
Find more information on the Foundation's complaint here.