Google Stops Scanning Student Emails for Adverts
Published on: 30th Apr 2014
Google has announced that it is to stop scanning the emails of users of its Education apps service that provides free hosted email for universities and schools.
Google routinely scans Gmail accounts for the content of emails and uses that to serve adverts to the users.
The company reportedly chose to stop scanning the Education service emails, when it was warned that could be in breach of a US privacy act that affects how services are provided to students.
While it doesn't serve adverts within Gmail to the users of its education email service, it does use the same email scanning technology and use that information to tailor adverts it serves to students through its other services.
That indirect use of the data is the issue that could lead to legal problems, and has already triggered a lawsuit from two students in California who say they were forced to use the Gmail platform by their university despite not wanting their emails scanned for advertising purposes.
Google says that more than 30 million students, teachers and administrators use its education email service.
"We've permanently removed all ads scanning in Gmail for Apps for Education, which means Google cannot collect or use student data in Apps for Education services for advertising purposes," wrote Google for Education director Bram Bout on a company blog.