Google has been spying on students who use its Chromebooks and apps in school, claims the EFF

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Digital Rights Group Accuses Google of Tracking Students

Google has allegedly been tracking search histories and other personal information from students, says a new complaint filed by The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) with the Federal Trade Commission.

The EFF claims that Google has been "collecting, maintaining, using, and sharing" data from students who use its Chromebooks in schools, and its educational apps.

Google's "Sync" feature for Chrome is enabled by default on the Chromebooks it sells to schools, according to the EFF. " This allows Google to track, store on its servers, and data mine for non-advertising purposes, records of every Internet site students visit, every search term they use, the results they click on, videos they look for and watch on YouTube, and their saved passwords," the EFF said in a statement.

The EFF finds this tracking particularly egregious because, in January, Google signed the "Student Privacy Pledge," a "legally enforceable document," which promises that the company won't collect this type of information from students.

"Despite publicly promising not to, Google mines students' browsing data and other information, and uses it for the company's own purposes. Making such promises and failing to live up to them is a violation of FTC rules against unfair and deceptive business practices," EFF Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo said. "Minors shouldn't be tracked or used as guinea pigs, with their data treated as a profit center. If Google wants to use students' data to 'improve Google products,'then it needs to get express consent from parents."

A Google spokesperson provided this statement to Business Insider:

"Our services enable students everywhere to learn and keep their information private and secure. While we appreciate EFF's focus on student privacy, we are confident that these tools comply with both the law and our promises, including the Student Privacy Pledge."

RELATED: See some of Google's less controversial projects

5 PHOTOS
Google's recent projects
See Gallery
Google has been spying on students who use its Chromebooks and apps in school, claims the EFF
A Google Street View vehicle collects imagery for Google Maps while driving down a street in Calais, northern France, on July 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
An attendee looks through a Legendary Pictures Inc. branded Google Cardboard VR (virtual reality) viewer during the Comic-Con International convention in San Diego, California, U.S., on Thursday, July 9, 2015. Comic-Con International is a nonprofit educational corporation dedicated to creating awareness of comics and related popular art forms. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A PrecisionHawk employee demonstrates a drone featuring LATAS (Low Altitude Tracking and Avoidance System) in Durham, North Carolina, U.S., on Tuesday, July 7, 2015. Google Inc. is joining some of the biggest companies in technology, communications and aviation -- including Amazon.com Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Harris Corp. -- in trying to create an air-traffic control system to prevent mid-air collisions. PrecisionHawk, a Raleigh, North Carolina, drone company with about 100 employees, began developing its own drone traffic control system because the large agriculture and oil companies it flies for wanted something to keep tabs on unmanned flights. Photographer: Jason Arthurs/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Google staff explain the new 'Internet Cycles' that are designed to bring Internet training to Indian villages after its launch in Mumbai on July 3, 2015. Tata Trusts and Google India launched a special program called Internet Saathi to empower women and their communities in rural India by enabling them to benefit from the Internet. The joint initiative is aimed at bridging the technology gender divide, which currently puts women in rural India at further risk of getting marginalized in the society as the world around them benefits from getting online. AFP PHOTO / INDRANIL MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

More from Business Insider:
Facebook has made it easier for a vulnerable population in America to maintain a profile
WhatsApp has been criticized over its handling of user data
Privacy advocates are slamming Facebook for its shady transparency policy

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

Glass-Printed Photos from Fracture Are an Easy Way to Make Your Room All Nice and Pretty Glass-Printed Photos from Fracture Are an Easy Way to Make Your Room All Nice and Pretty
People Have Been Making Chicken Wrong The Whole Time - Here's The Best Way To Do It People Have Been Making Chicken Wrong The Whole Time - Here's The Best Way To Do It
Farmer Came Outside To Check On The Animals - And Found This In Her Pasture Instead Farmer Came Outside To Check On The Animals - And Found This In Her Pasture Instead