Google stops mining data from Apps for Education
- Google for Education Director Bram Bout announced in a Tuesday blog post that Apps for Education account data would no longer be scanned for advertising purposes.
- The decision automatically disables ads in Apps for Education — a suite of email, calendar, and document apps for students and teachers — and removes the ability to turn them back on from the administrator console.
- The practice was confirmed to Education Week in March by a spokeswoman, and the decision to abandon it follows the filing of a lawsuit last year by California Gmail users who alleged the practice violated the state's wiretap laws.
Google had initially said that the data gathered from student accounts wouldn't be used to target ads to those students unless ads were toggled on, but that revelation was still too much for those concerned about the commercial use of students' educational data. Indeed, student data privacy has been a focus of great concern for many — so much so that it was too much for cloud-based student data company InBloom to withstand. And let's not forget the U.S. Department of Education's guidance on student-data privacy, under which Google's data mining could very well have been in violation of FERPA.
The Business, Government, and free editions of Google Apps will also see policy changes regarding data collection, and more details about the Apps for Education policy change will be laid out in a Thursday morning Hangout at 9 a.m. PT on the Google for Education G+ page.
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