Google ends “creepy” practice of scanning Gmail education apps

Joe Silver:

Technology giant Google has ended its practice of scanning its users’ Apps for Education accounts for advertising purposes after being sued by students and other Gmail users last year, the company announced Wednesday.

The Google Apps for Education tool suite is a service the company provides for free to more than 30 million students, teachers, and administrators globally. The service includes access to Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and cloud storage.

Users of the Apps for Education tools suite and other Gmail users have alleged that the company’s data scanning practices violated federal and state anti-wiretapping and privacy laws, according to the suit filed in a California federal court.

The plaintiffs have further claimed that the company crossed a “creepy line” by using scanned information to build “surreptitious” profiles of students, according to Education Week. The users who filed suit have sought money damages and an injunction preventing further scanning of accounts. The suit is ongoing, and, after a preliminary hearing in February, the court denied a motion for certification as a class action lawsuit in March.

“Trust but verify”.