Following Privacy Lawsuit, Google Stops Scanning Student Mail Accounts For Ads

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In U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Google is facing a privacy lawsuit for its data-mining practices of students email in its Google Apps for Education program. Even though the ads are not served for Google Apps for Education users, Google itself admitted that it scanned emails sent and received by students who attend schools that use Apps for Education. Google is using the data to build a profile that could be used for ad targeting outside Google Apps.

The data-mining practices behind Google’s Gmail electronic-messaging service violate federal and state wiretap and privacy laws. Gmail is a key feature of Google Apps for Education, which has 30 million users worldwide and is provided by the company for free to thousands of educational institutions in the United States.

Student-data-privacy experts contend that the latter claim is contradicted by Google’s own court filings in the California suit. They describe the case as highly troubling and likely to further inflame rising national concern that protection of children’s private educational information is too lax.

“This should draw the attention of the U.S. Department of Education, the Federal Trade Commission, and state legislatures,” said Khaliah Barnes, a lawyer with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC, a Washington-based advocacy group. “Student privacy is under attack.”

Today, Google announced that they will stop scanning student emails. Bram Bout, director of Google for Education, said to WSJ that the company will no longer scan Gmail in Apps for Education, and won’t collect or use student data from Apps for Education for advertising purposes. Google is making similar changes to its Apps services for businesses and government users, Bout said.

Source: WSJ

About Author

Pradeep, a Computer Science & Engineering graduate.

  • jaylyric

    Can anyone say.. “Scroogle”?

    • Alan

      I can!!

      • jaylyric

        +1520

  • Alan

    Google shouldn’t be scanning anyone’s email, period!!!

    • Vương Vi-Nhuyễn – 王微軟

      They should make money, and this model has been proven to be most profitable, and if people want personalized advertisements, then they should like a system like this.

      • Alan

        They can make money from non targeted ads, there is absolutely no reason for any company to scan anyone’s email for the purpose of ads. The only legitimate reason to scan email is for spam and infected attachments.

  • Bugbog

    Likely it’s not just as a consequence of the lawsuit. And here ‘people’ were saying the Scroogled campaign was a waste of time.

  • http://yourig.livejournal.com/ ZloiYuri

    Great. But why not to sue some billions dollar for that?

    • Vương Vi-Nhuyễn – 王微軟

      Because ”Google is good and innovative”, and ”Microsoft is evil”, so only Microsoft would get sued if they’d do things like this. (–_–)

      • http://yourig.livejournal.com/ ZloiYuri

        True. And it’s a proof justice doesn’t fair anymore.

      • Alan

        You’re forgetting one tiny thing, Microsoft doesn’t scan your email to target you with ads and if one of their services does provide you with targeted ads then they tell you and give you a way to turn it off. “Microsoft is good and innovative”, and “Google is evil”!!!!

  • reKitab

    That WebCrawler Spider looks fearsome. Those who tread close do it at their own risk!

    • Vương Vi-Nhuyễn – 王微軟

      Microsoft made it as a part of their Scroogled campaign. :-) You can still buy Scroogled stuff, so I don’t think that the campaign is stopped, just halted. :-)