Washington D.C. – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a digital-rights advocacy group, filed a federal complaint against Google Inc. The document, officially presented to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Monday, specifies that the giant tech company violates the students’ privacy by monitoring their Internet searches and other personal information through Chromebook devices they use at school.
The foundation calls Google a “two-faced opportunist,” as it collects and analyzes student’s personal data in spite of having signed last year the “Student Privacy Pledge,” which covers more than 200 firms and guarantees that children’s information will be kept safe, as it prevents the illegal sale or misuse of data. The Foundation affirms that Google is tracking digital activities of students from kindergarten to 12th grade in order to enhance its digital services.
As part of a widespread “Spying on Students” campaign that aims to raise awareness about the potential privacy risks related to technology in the classrooms, EFF pledges the Federal Trade Commission to lead an extensive investigation, to stop Google from using student’s data for its own purposes and order it to eliminate any information it has gathered that is not associated with education, including browsing history, YouTube videos, and password information.
Google uses the “Sync” feature in the Chrome browser in order to collect user’s data. The EFF argues that the firm could share this information with third parties by using administrative settings. Google promised that they would soon disable the feature on distributed Chromebooks. Nevertheless, it does not admit that they are doing wrong practices.
Google, however, argues that student data is secure.
“Our services enable students everywhere to learn and keep their information private and secure,” as Google said to FoxNews in a statement. “While we appreciate EFF’s focus on student privacy, we are confident that these tools comply with both the law and our promises, including the Student Privacy Pledge (SPP).”
Although the foundation highly recommends Chromebooks and Google Apps for education, it has been encouraging it to protect student privacy, as pointed out by EFF Staff Attorney Sophia Cope.
Another EFF staff, Attorney Nate Cardozo, points out that Google should not be treating students as guinea pigs. Even worst, they do not ask for parental control, which clearly violates the privacy of students, whose data should not be a matter of profit center.
Source: Fox News