The tracking goes back to the Chromebooks they donated to schools.
You've heard this news before. Google recently hit a bit of a snag when they were found to be taking information from their Google for Education program. They signed a pledge saying that they would no longer collect this information, but it seems that they never stopped.
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The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a complaint against the giant yesterday, and said:
“Despite publicly promising not to, Google mines students’ browsing data and other information, and uses it for the company’s own purposes,” the EFF said.
That is a breach of Section 5 of the Federal Communications Act. The Federal Trade Commission has been asked to investigate.
Google and Microsoft both have extensive programs for educators. Google sells low-cost Chromebooks and tablets, and it offers free apps that teachers and students can use in the classroom. While this is great for schools that don't have the money to buy new products to the tune of 10 million Chromebooks, and it has been downloaded by more than 50 million students and teachers, it is still a problem.
When students log into Chromebooks, the company records everything that the child does while they are logged into their Google accounts, which means that once they leave, it can track what they do on other devices. Some of the information they receive includes search results, what they click on, search history, and the videos that they watch on YouTube.
While Google says that everything is made anonymous when using their devices, but not when they are using others. The EFF also argues that you can't really make something on the internet truly anonymous, especially when someone is trying to cover their tracks.
Google’s practices “fly in the face of commitments made when it signed the Student Privacy Pledge,” the EFF said, referring to a document signed by 200 companies including Google, Microsoft and Apple.
Their hope is to destroy the data that was collected and bar Google from collecting any other information.
Google declined to talk about the specifics of the allegations but provided a statement: “Our services enable students everywhere to learn and keep their information private and secure. 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.”
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“While that is a small step in the right direction, it doesn’t go nearly far enough to correct the violations of the Student Privacy Pledge currently inherent in Chromebooks being distributed to schools,” the EFF said.