Senator Al Franken Censures Google on Student Data Privacy Practices

A SENATOR'S IRE In a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai (remember that Larry and Sergei are now the supreme overlords of Alphabet), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has requested information on Google's collection of student data. As a preface to his letter, Senator Franken nodded to the increasing presence of edtech in the classroom and said his primary concern was "the extent to which Google may be collecting K-12 students' personal data and using that information for non-educational purposes," citing his belief that Americans' have a fundamental right to privacy.

His questions probed the privacy settings and uses for data within the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) suite of tools, most pointedly wanting to know what kind of personally identifiable data Google collects on individual students.

The letter comes quickly after the Electronic Frontier Foundation's complaint that Google was collecting data through the Chrome browser. Google has signed the Student Privacy Pledge, promising not to collect or share student data except in service of education or when allowed by parents.

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