New Mexico Sues Google for Mining Children’s Data
The state of New Mexico has filed a lawsuit against tech giant Google for allegedly using its Google for Education platform to harvest private data from students under the age of 13. The program includes free Google Chromebooks and access to the G Suite for Education service, offering students access to Gmail, Classroom, online word processing, and presentation applications. In compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), online platforms must get the parental consent of children under the age of 13 before they may access the services or gather information about them.
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas stated that Google is attempting to bypass this law through Google Education. Balderas claims that, in direct contradiction to Google’s privacy policies, the company has been collecting data on students, including websites they visit, their physical locations, every search term used in the Google search engine, the videos they watch on YouTube, voice recordings, personal contact lists, saved passwords and more. New Mexico is seeking $5,000 per violation of the New Mexico Unfair Practices Act and for Google to admit that their information gathering practices violate COPPA.