Google's generosity as a provider of education technology comes at a price, one advocacy group argues. Though Google signed an agreement earlier this year pledging to limit its data collection on students as its Chrome books and educational apps soared to dominance, the group Electronic Frontier Foundation alleges that Google still tracks way too much information:
...In a filing with the Federal Trade Commission, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) argued Google is tracking nearly everything students are doing when they are signed into their Google accounts and, in some cases, using that information to build profiles and serve them targeted ads in certain Google programs. [The Washington Post]
The problem has to do with the "Sync" feature, which allows users' browsing history and passwords to carry from one Chromebook or Chrome browser they log into onto the next.
Google's Director of Google Apps for Education, Jonathan Rochelle, says that it is up to school districts to decide whether or not this feature is enabled, just as it is for students' use of programs outside the educational suite, including YouTube, Google News, Maps, and Search. Furthermore, Rochelle writes in a blog post, the data collected from Sync "is not connected to any specific person nor is it used to analyze student behaviors."
Still, parents are concerned — because school districts do not always alert them to their student's software use and parental consent is not required. "This is a decision my school district made about the privacy and security of my child," one parent said, "and it felt like they didn't really understand the implications."
Read the full story over at The Washington Post.