It seems Google has responded to the throngs of parents crying foul about their children’s email accounts being scanned.
Millions of students’ email accounts were scanned by Google in an attempt to target users for advertiser-specific marketing — a move many claimed was a breach of U.S. privacy law.
But this week, the web giant said in a blog post they were “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 [and] we’ve permanently removed all ads scanning in Gmail for Apps for Education,” Google said.
The declaration means advertisements in the ‘Apps for Education’ services are turned off and administrators no longer have the option or ability to turn on scanning ads in those services.
It also means Google claims it will not “collect or use student data in Apps for Education services for advertising purposes.”
Google’s reversal of its policy on scanning student emails will be extended to other app accounts including business and government Gmail inboxes, according to the International Business Times.
The terms of service originally read: “Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection.”
Privacy advocates had criticized the policy, particularly in relation to Google’s Apps for Education kit. The updated policy restricts the ability to “edit or add new AdSense ads to existing sites or to new pages.”
“Details of how you used our service, such as your search queries. Telephony log information like your phone number, calling-party number, forwarding numbers, time and date of calls, duration of calls, SMS routing information and types of calls.
Internet protocol address.”
The policy continues, “Device event information such as crashes, system activity, hardware settings, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your request and referral URL cookies that may uniquely identify your browser or your Google Account.”
And the list goes on. You really should check it out yourself.