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EFF claims Chromebooks continue to spy on kids

by on24 April 2017

What a surprise - a Google product spying on people.

Human rights group, the  Electronic Freedom Foundation has complained that Google is continuing to use its Chromebooks to spy on customers.

The main issue, it seems, is the fact that the education system is changing the way it treats the students' privacy, mostly due to a rollout of low-priced Chromebooks that come with education services. Often, they are available for a reduced price or even given out for free.

"Educational technology services often collect far more information on kids than is necessary and store this information indefinitely. In fact, they tie personally identifying information, such as kids' names, birthdays, browsing history, search terms, location data, contact lists, and behavioural information,” the EFF said.

Since most of those customers are under-age school kids, it appears that Google is rather a little too interested in knowing all about them.

The EFF first complained about Google two years ago, and since then, it claims the search engine outfit has not done much to improve its antics.

Now it says that Google still hasn't shed its "bad guy" image when it comes to the data it collects on underage students.

The company continues to massively collect and store information on children without their consent or their parents'. Not even school administrators fully understand the extent of this operation.

According to the latest status report from the EFF, Google is trying to end students’ privacy without their parents notice or consent and "without a real choice to opt out".

This, they say, is done via the Chromebooks Google is selling to schools across the United States. It is a shame really because Google’s number one rival for this market is Apple.

The EFF investigated 152 ed-tech services that survey respondents reported were in use in their classrooms. The findings weren't too great, as most of these services had privacy policies lacking in encryption, data retention or data sharing rules.

One school Chromebook administrator  told the EFF that they're "putting all [their] eggs in one basket that we're not in control of. We don't know where this student data is going".

Last modified on 24 April 2017
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