EFF accuses Google of mining student data from school-issued Chromebooks

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a consumer advocacy group, has accused Google of tracking the non-education internet usage of students through school-issued Chromebooks, which the group says is a violation of the Student Privacy Pledge. According to the EFF's complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, the concern centers around Google Sync, which keeps browser settings in sync between multiple computers, with the data stored on Google's servers.

The feature is on by default, and the EFF alleges that Google can then mine the Sync data for information on students. From the EFF:

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. Google doesn't first obtain permission from students or their parents and since some schools require students to use Chromebooks, many parents are unable to prevent Google's data collection.

The EFF also says that it has found that Chromebook administrative settings allow student information to be shared with third-party websites, another violation of the Student Privacy Pledge.

Google has evidently told the EFF that it plans to disable settings that allow Google Sync data to be shared with other Google services. However, the group feels that this is not enough, and is asking the FTC to order Google to delete all non-educational data about students from its servers.

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation (1), (2); Via: Fortune