The search giant is being accused of using its Chromebooks to spy on the activity of children.
Google is denying alarming new reports that it is spying on children and using their personal data with its Chromebooks.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is making the claim against Google, arguing that it is collecting and storing data from children when they use products by the search giant at school, requesting that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission investigate, according to a BBC report.
However, Google denied the charges, arguing that the data it collected was only used to improve its products and was not used to create targeted advertising.
The EFF filed a complaint with the authorities that claimed that Google had some ulterior motives when it supplies Chromebooks to schools as part of its Google Apps for Education (GAFE) project, using the Chrome browser to collect data on students without permission. The data included a record of internet sites visited, search terms, videos watched on YouTube, and even passwords, the complaint alleges. That information is then used for both improving products as well as targeting advertising on apps like Chrome and YouTube.
These apps are not part of the GAFE core apps, which include Gmail, Drive, Calendar, and Sites, indicating that, if true, Google is dipping beyond the core purpose of GAFE and pulling data from the project for use in its fleet of products.
But while Google admitted to collecting data, it denied that this dat was personally identifiable, and was only used to “used to power features in Chrome for that person, for example allowing students to access their own browsing data and settings, securely, across devices,” the company said in a statement posted on its blog.
“In addition, our systems compile data aggregated from millions of users of Chrome Sync and, after completely removing information about individual users, we use this data to holistically improve the services we provide,” the company continues. “For example, if data shows that millions of people are visiting a webpage that is broken, that site would be moved lower in the search results. This is not connected to any specific person nor is it used to analyse student behaviors.”