Even if the company has previously signed a pledge which specifically targeted the privacy of their users, especially students or school children, Google faces an FTC complaint regarding student privacy issues, complained filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The massive Google company is accused through this complaint of gathering search data from children and students across the nation in order to improve their internet browsing system. The devices currently facing these accusations are laptops which run specifically on the Google OS, or operating system.
This is not the first time the company in question has come under fire from the FTC for some of its non-disclosed and somewhat shady practices. In 2012, they were forced to pay a 22.5 million dollar fine because they released private information such as personal information through their Google Safari application. Even worse, this came right after 2010 when they were forced to take out Buzz, which released e-mail without having any consent from their users.
In 2010, Google signed a pledge regarding their privacy policies concerning their users, allowing the FTC to periodically survey their data in order to see that everything was in check. But as it could be clearly seen two years later, this didn’t stop the company in the slightest bit.
Concerning the new case at hand, Google is said to be completely ignoring their “Student Privacy Pledge” that states how the data collected through their servers and search engine is completely private and won’t be used for marketing or other non-educational objectives.
The possibility of Google engaging in non-disclosed data mining of students and children is not that unlikely at all, mainly due to the fact of the sheer amount of cheap Chromebooks being used in schools and colleges across the US, with the price of such a device being 300 dollars or lower.
If the company will be held responsible once again by the FTC in regards to both their privacy irregularities as well as breaking the pledge which was previously signed, a massive fine won’t be its only problem. Their public image, as well as the general view from the public at large, will take an extreme hit once again. This comes at a rather ill-timed, as Google is currently trying to spread more and more in various markets ranging from automotive ones to climate change documentation for various non-profit environmental agencies.
It is safe to say that after the news that Google faces an FTC complaint regarding student privacy issues, both the public as well corporate investors and companies will carefully see if their faith in regards to privacy can be put in the company’s hands once again, even if they decide to sign yet another pledge which they may or may not adhere to.