Is Google a company that really follows its motto by not doing any evil? I suppose unless one can agree on a solid moral framework, the question of evil will always be relative. Having said that, the Electronic Frontier Foundation claims that Google’s policies actually violate the Student Privacy Pledge, although you can be sure that there are two sides to each coin with the creators of the pledge disagreeing with such a viewpoint.
The issue at hand here would be school-issued Chromebooks, where 3.4 million Chromebooks have been to the educational sector last year alone, and most of these ended up in the bags of students. The Electronic Frontier Foundation accuses Google of taking advantage of those Chromebooks to collect and mine personal information from the school children who are its users, and this violates Google’s promises and FTC rules where deceptive business practices are concerned. The EFF duly followed up with more action by filing a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission this week.
The EFF’s main beef would be against Google’s Chrome Sync feature, which can be found on desktop Chrome browsers in addition to, you’ve guessed it – Chromebooks. Such a feature will enable Google to store student browsing data on its servers, and this feature is on by default on Chromebooks that have been shipped to schools.
You can read Google’s response to the entire set up here.