Updated Feb 20, 2020 - Technology

New Mexico accuses Google of violating kids' privacy with data collection

In this image, a student holds a smartphone that is using Google translate
A student uses Google Translate at the Rohingya English Academy in Malaysia. Photo: Faris Hadziq/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

New Mexico attorney general Hector Balderas accused Google in a lawsuit of illegally amassing schoolchildren's personal data through G Suite Education products that the tech giant lets kids in the state use for free.

The big picture: There are at least 80 million students and teachers using these products across the world, Google revealed in a blog post last January.

Details: Balderas alleges that Google is collecting kids' geolocation information, contact lists, visited websites, voice recordings and terms searched on Google and YouTube without parental consent.

  • Google provides Chromebook laptops and G Suite products — including Gmail, Drive, and Docs — to New Mexico schools for free, Balderas said in a Thursday press release.

What they're saying:

“These claims are factually wrong. G Suite for Education allows schools to control account access and requires that schools obtain parental consent when necessary. We do not use personal information from users in primary and secondary schools to target ads. School districts can decide how best to use Google for Education in their classrooms and we are committed to partnering with them.”
— Jose Castaneda, Google spokesperson, in a statement to Axios
“Students and parents are a vulnerable audience who have little say in what products kids must use, and companies are taking advantage of them. We have long had a law in place, COPPA, to protect kids’ data, and it is important that state leaders like AG Balderas step up to protect children."
— James P. Steyer, founder of nonprofit Common Sense

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