As a new parent, the idea of sending my children to public school is a frightening thought. The more you read, the more you realize the importance of extreme vigilance when it comes to what’s happening at whatever place you send your kids to for majority of their day. Quite often, parents are simply left completely in the dark about some very important matters.
One such example relates to Google’s penetration of the U.S. public school system, and how the company employs a loophole in order to collect data on children. Google achieves this by referring to itself as a “school official” under the law. I truly wish I was making this up.
From the Washington Post:
Google is a major player in U.S. education. In fact, in many public schools around the country, it’s technically a “school official.” And that designation means parents may not get a chance to opt out of having information about their children shared with the online advertising giant.The combined allure of Google’s free suite of productivity tools and cheap laptops that use the company’s Web-based ChromeOS operating system have made Google’s products a popular choice at schools around the country. And the company’s growing dominance is raising concern from some privacy advocates who allege it is using some student data for its own benefit.
Google’s standard agreement for providing its education suite defines the company as a “school official” for the purpose of that student privacy law. In Google’s case, the company is providing software that districts might otherwise have to develop or support themselves, such as email services or tools that help students digitally collaborate on assignments.
But schools are supposed to have “direct control” of how a company or individual uses and maintains education records to deem them a “school official,” according to the department’s regulation.
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