Google Chromebooks put child data at risk

(Image credit: Pixabay)

Google is facing a major lawsuit for allegedly harvesting data of schoolchildren under the age of 13.

The Attorney General of New Mexico, Hector Balderas, has claimed that Chromebooks provided by Google collected data across the Internet without parental permission.

Google launched a program called “G-Suite for Education” in 2006 which provides free Chromebooks and access to Google applications like email, calendar, Cloud storage and other applications to around 80 million teachers and students across the US.

Google illegal data collection

According to the suit, even though Google said that it will only collect education appropriate data, the company was collecting extensive user data including information about children, their families, physical locations, internet browsing patterns, Google searches, YouTube watch history - and also allegedly collecting personal contact lists, passwords and personal voice recordings. 

The suit further claims that Google used this data to serve advertisements until April 2014. It states that Google has stored the data of each student, who has participated in the program, under personalized profiles and did not allow parents to view or limit the data collection.

The suit reads, “These practices do not simply violate federal law, nor do they merely impact children under the age of 13. Covertly monitoring children of all ages, despite unambiguous representations to the contrary, violates longstanding rights rooted in the common law as well as New Mexico’s statutory prohibitions on unfair, deceptive, and unconscionable business practice.” 

Google, however, has denied any wrongdoing, saying that. “These claims are factually wrong. G Suite for Education allows schools to control account access and requires that schools obtain parental consent when necessary. We do not use personal information from users in primary and secondary schools to target ads. School districts can decide how best to use Google for Education in their classrooms and we are committed to partnering with them.”

Via: The Verge

Jitendra Soni

Jitendra has been working in the Internet Industry for the last 7 years now and has written about a wide range of topics including gadgets, smartphones, reviews, games, software, apps, deep tech, AI, and consumer electronics.