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December 3, 2015

Google accused of spying on children – search giant issues strong denial

News: The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission.

By CBR Staff Writer

Google has been accused of collecting data from school children despite making a promise not to indulge in such activities.

Digital rights advocacy group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accusing Google of tracking and mining school children’s personal data, including their Internet searches.

The advocacy group alleged that Google has violated the Student Privacy Pledge to safeguard student privacy with respect to the collection, maintenance, and use of personal data.

The EFF’s complaint centres around the company’s Chrome Sync feature, which is available on desktop Chrome browsers and Chromebooks. The feature enables the company to track, store on its servers, and data mine for non-advertising purposes, recording each Internet site students visit.

EFF Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo said: "Despite publicly promising not to, Google mines students’ browsing data and other information, and uses it for the company’s own purposes."

Google denied the allegation that it had broken its promises and its practices were were not in line with its commitment to the Student Privacy Pledge. It said the Future of Privacy Forum, a co-writer of the pledge had criticised the EFF complaint

Jonathan Rochelle, Google Apps for Education director said: "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."

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Google told EFF that it will disable a setting on school Chromebooks that enables Chrome Sync data such as browsing history to be shared with its other services.


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