March 30, 2020

Digital Privacy: New Mexico Sues Google Over Children’s Privacy Violations

From The NY Times:

New Mexico’s attorney general sued Google on Thursday, saying the tech giant used its educational products to spy on the state’s children and families.

Google collected a trove of students’ personal information, including data on their physical locations, websites they visited, YouTube videos they watched and their voice recordings, Hector Balderas, New Mexico’s attorney general, said in a federal lawsuit.

“The consequences of Google’s tracking cannot be overstated: Children are being monitored by one of the largest data mining companies in the world, at school, at home, on mobile devices, without their knowledge and without the permission of their parents,” the lawsuit said.

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From the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office

The types of information collected include geolocation information, websites visited, terms searched for on Google and YouTube, contact lists, voice recordings, and more. Federal law prohibits companies from collecting these types of information from children under 13 without parental consent. The New Mexico Office of the Attorney General filed a similar lawsuit against Google and several other tech companies in September 2018, alleging illegal data collection from child-directed mobile apps. The companies have denied wrongdoing, and the case awaits a decision by a federal judge in Albuquerque. In addition to filing the suit, Attorney General Balderas has communicated with schools across New Mexico and let them know that there is no immediate harm to the continued use of these products and that this lawsuit should not interrupt daily instruction in our schools. Attorney General Balderas also wrote a letter to Google’s Chief Executive Officer demanding that the company immediately cease the practice

Read the Complete News Release, Includes Copy of Letter Sent to Google CEO

From the Albuquerque Journal/AP

The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office filed a similar lawsuit against Google and other tech companies in 2018, targeting what Balderas described as illegal data collection from child-directed mobile apps. That case is pending in federal court, but the companies have denied wrongdoing.

The latest lawsuit claims that more than 80 million teachers and students use Google Education. Balderas said in a letter to New Mexico school officials that there was no immediate harm if they continue using the products and that the lawsuit shouldn’t interrupt activities in the classroom.

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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