New Mexico Takes Google On in Landmark Lawsuit over Child Spying

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For years, many people have raised fears about the use of technology in and around schools. Many people have grown so used to working with things like AI devices that we just go with the flow. 

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However, the problem is that we don’t realize just how much data these devices are collecting. Is this a ticking timebomb for privacy and rights for each and every one of us?

It’s not just down to AI, though. It’s down to the sheer amount of personal data that we are now so used to sharing willingly all across social media and our personal lives.

It very well could be. However, one state in America, the state of New Mexico, is taking action. They have launched a lawsuit against Google for the collection of personal data from minors and children. 

This is done through the use of Google-powered hardware in their schools, as well as software packages. This major lawsuit, then, is one of the few that have been raised against Google for the violation of privacy rights for students.

Ignoring COPPA 

Indeed, the lawsuit goes on to claim that Google is “spying” on the students by mining data via their Chromebook laptop devices. The kids also use Google Education, and the lawsuit claims that such tools are used to help gather personal data about the children. 

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The company is alleged to have been collecting data including but not limited to search history, browsing history, physical locations of students, and personal contact lists. They even have things like behavioral details logged, according to the lawsuit.

The state says that the data is being collected for commercial reasons, which goes against the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. This means that data cannot be taken from children under the age of 13 without permission from parents.

A Growing Trend

This isn’t the first lawsuit of this kind that Google has faced recently, though. They have already faced up to these allegations in the past, paying out around $170m in settlement to the Federal Trade Commission.

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They claimed that YouTube was using viewership data to send children targeted advertising.

With around 25 million students and school staff using Chromebooks, according to Google, it’s obvious that this is a situation that needs to be resolved. 

With Google having more and more control over how classrooms are using the web and computer hardware, there has to be trust that collected information won’t be used in a commercial manner.

However, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has cooled claims that will mean schools have to stop using the software. It’s not expected to have any kind of impact on their day-to-day activities in the school.

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