Google announced today it has ceased scanning student Gmail accounts, and can no longer collect or use student data from its Apps for Education services for advertising purposes.
The decision by Google comes after a recent lawsuit against the company, claiming Google’s practice of scanning student Gmail accounts violated privacy laws.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Google admitted during court proceedings that it had scanned emails belonging to students who attended schools using Google’s Apps for Education. The report claimed Google said it never used the information received from scanning student Gmail accounts to target ads anywhere.
Still, the lawsuit was enough to result in Google changing its Apps for Education privacy policies. From a post today on Google’s Enterprise Blog:
Today, we’re taking additional steps to enhance the educational experience for Apps for Education customers:
- We’ve permanently removed the “enable/disable” toggle for ads in the Apps for Education Administrator console. This means ads in Apps for Education services are turned off and administrators no longer have the option or ability to turn ads in these services on.
- We’ve permanently removed all ads scanning in Gmail for Apps for Education, which means Google cannot collect or use student data in Apps for Education services for advertising purposes.
The post goes on to say Google will be making similar changes to its Google Apps for Business and Government customers, as well as legacy users of the free version.