2 Dec, 2015

Google ‘stores children’s data’ – civil liberties group

BBC News | Kevin Rawlinson | 2 December 2015

Google collects schoolchildren’s personal data, including internet searches, a civil liberties group says.

In a complaint to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said the alleged practice broke both Google promises and trade rules.

It said Google products used in schools sent data to the company without first seeking parental permission.

Google said its tools complied with the law.

Google provides schools with Chromebooks and its Google Apps for Education (GAFE) products – a suite of cloud-based productivity tools.

It promises not to serve adverts on the apps and says that “users own their data, not Google”.


The products are designed to be a safe place for students to learn.

No adverts appear on the core apps in the suite:

  • Gmail
  • Drive
  • Calendar
  • Sites
According to the EFF, the Chromebooks are enabled by default with a feature to synchronise the Chrome browsers installed on them.

No express consent was sought, it alleged.

“This allows Google to track, store on its servers, and data mine for non-advertising purposes records of every internet site students visit, every search term they use, the results they click on, videos they look for and watch on YouTube, and their saved passwords,” it said in a statement.

In its complaint to the FTC, the EFF added that Google “uses [the data] for its own purposes such as improving Google products”. And it said Google used the data it collected to target adverts on the non-core apps.