TECHNOLOGY

New Mexico sues Google over collection of children’s data

Feb 21, 2020, 7:28 AM
google...
FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2019, file photo, a woman walks below a Google sign on the campus in Mountain View, Calif. New Mexico is suing Google over allegations that the tech company is illegally collecting personal data generated by children in violation of federal and state laws. The state attorney general's office filed a lawsuit Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in U.S. District Court claiming that Google is using its education suite that is marketed to school districts, teachers and parents as a way to spy on children and their families. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s attorney general sued Google Thursday over allegations the tech company is illegally collecting personal data generated by children in violation of federal and state laws.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque claims Google is using its education services package that is marketed to school districts, teachers and parents as a way to spy on children and their families.

Attorney General Hector Balderas said that while the company touts Google Education as a valuable tool for resource-deprived schools, it is a means to monitor children while they browse the internet in the classroom and at home on private networks. He said the information being mined includes everything from physical locations to websites visited, videos watched, saved passwords and contact lists.

The state is seeking unspecified civil penalties.

“Student safety should be the number one priority of any company providing services to our children, particularly in schools,” Balderas said in a statement. “Tracking student data without parental consent is not only illegal, it is dangerous.”

Google dismissed the claims as “factually wrong,” saying the G Suite for Education package 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,” said company spokesman Jose Castaneda. “School districts can decide how best to use Google for education in their classrooms and we are committed to partnering with them.”

UnlikeEurope, the U.S. has no overarching national law governing data collection and privacy. Instead, it has a patchwork of state and federal laws that protect specific types of data, such as consumer health, financial information and the personal data generated by younger children.

New Mexico’s claim cites violations of the state’s Unfair Practices Act and the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires websites and online services to obtain parental consent before collecting any information from children under 13. In a separate case, Google already has agreed to pay $170 million combined to the Federal Trade Commission and New York state to settle allegations its YouTube video service collected personal data on children without their parents’ consent.

According to the New Mexico lawsuit, outside its Google Education platform, the company prohibits children in the U.S. under the age of 13 from having their own Google accounts. The state contends Google is attempting to get around this by using its education services to “secretly gain access to troves of information” about New Mexico children.

The 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 still is pending in federal court, but the companies have denied wrongdoing.

The latest lawsuit claims more than 80 million teachers and students use Google’seducation plaform. 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.

Today’s Top Stories

Technology

Google googled phrases...
Aubri Wuthrich

A Google analysis shows which words are the most confusing to Americans

Americans use Google to define terms that are confusing for them, this study shows which terms are most commonly searched.
2 days ago
DWR law enforcement truck pictured. The Utah DWR will use drones to help with wildlife management...
Britt Johnson and Elizabeth Weiler

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources launches new drone law enforcement team

Utah has created its new drone law enforcement team, designed to get a better look at wildlife crimes like poaching and trespassing. 
3 days ago
emoticon history...
Jennifer Korn, CNN Business

The 40-year evolution from :-) to 😂, what emojis offer that words can’t

Today there are more than 3,600 emojis available for users to express their every emotion and effectively give our words a deeper meaning.
5 days ago
Peiter Zatko, known as Mudge in the computer hacking community, testifies before the Senate Judicia...
Catherine Thorbecke, CNN Business

Why deleting something from the internet is ‘almost impossible’

Most people may live out their digital lives with the assumption they can delete their posts, messages and personal data from services whenever they choose. A tech hearing this week threw that core assumption into question.
7 days ago
Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson spoke Friday at a celebration in Blanding of the electrification of ...
Mark Jones

Leaders celebrate Westwater electrification, eyeing bright future.

Officials from around the state on Friday celebrated the transformation of the Westwater electrification.
8 days ago
Utah is number ten in the nation for most money lost by victims by cybercrime....
Mark Jackson

Utah is 22nd in the nation for cybercrimes, 10th for most money lost by victims

A national survey of over 1.000 showed that over half of Utah residents have been a victim of some kind of cybercrime.
12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
New Mexico sues Google over collection of children’s data