EFF Accuses Alphabet Inc (GOOG)’s Google of Violating Student Privacy Using Chromebooks

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed a complaint with the United States Federal Commission against Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Google for allegedly invading student privacy using Chromebooks.

The complaint states that Google intentionally turned on the “sync” feature on Chromebooks sold to schools. The sync feature allows the firm to monitor saved information used by US students on the Chrome browser including saved passwords, internet searches, visited websites the viewed videos.

The Chromebooks are students from Kindergarten to the 12th grade. The EFF claims that the company collects the information and uses it to improve its digital services. Additionally, the settings on the Chromebooks cannot be changed by the user. The school administrators are the only individuals given the mandate alter the settings.

The complaint claims that the software and tech company has violated “student privacy policy” that it signed last year in three ways. The acquisition of students’ personal data by gaining access to Google-for-student accounts and using the information for its own gain. The Google for Education settings provides the administrator with the ability to select settings that allow personal information that belongs to the students to be shared.

The EFF came across the problem during a campaign called “Spying on students” that was designed to expose the privacy risks that come with school-supplied software and devices. According to Nate Cardozo, the attorney of EFF, Google had promised not to violate students’ private data but the firm has done contrary to the agreement by gaining access and using the information for its own gain.

Cardozo also added that minors should not be used as test subjects and their data should not be tracked. The attorney further added that Google should seek consent from parents if it wants to use student data to develop more quality in their products. The EFF has also provided a guideline that parents can use with their students to change the settings on the Chromebooks in a bid to enhance privacy.

Google maintains that it has not violated the privacy policy. The company released a statement in light the matter, with a claim that its services allow students to maintain privacy and security.

Sources: zdnet, ctvnews