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The Washington Post: Google responds to Sen. Franken privacy inquiry

Thursday, February 18, 2016
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Sen. Al Franken believes that privacy is a fundamental right of all Americans, and he recently pressed Google to explain how it is using data collected from students in Minnesota and across the country who use the company's education products.

Sen. Franken believes that privacy is a fundamental right of all Americans, and he recently pressed Google to explain how it is using data collected from students in Minnesota and across the country who use the company's education products. As the top Democrat on the Senate Privacy Subcommittee, he pressed Google for details about the personal student information it is collecting, and whether or not it's being used to target advertisements to students.

Google recently responded to Sen. Franken, writing that the information it collects from students is used to develop and improve its services. The company also said that the student data it collects is not sold to third parties and is only released when requested by a school or by the law.

Sen. Franken said he will continue to press Google to clarify some of its policies to ensure that students and their parents have a say in data privacy practices.

The Washington Post reports:

Franken said that Google's response was "thorough," but said he will seek further clarification from Google about some of its privacy policies regarding student data.

"Google's response to my questioning was thorough, and I appreciate its engagement on this topic," Franken said in a statement. "But I'm still concerned about what exactly Google does with the information it collects and processes from students who are browsing outside websites-like YouTube-while logged in to Google's education services. I'm also still interested in whether or not Google can provide parents and students with stronger privacy protections-for example, by allowing students to 'opt-in' to data collection. I plan to continue working with Google to clarify some of its policies, because it's important for the privacy of our students."

The company also said that it does not sell student data to third parties and does not share students' personal information except in a few circumstances outlined in its public privacy policies  such as when schools ask the company to share the data, or the law requires it.

The letter came in response to a request from Franken last month that Google provide detailed information about its student privacy policies, voicing concern that children's personal information was being collected and used without parents' knowledge or consent.

To read the rest of the story click here.

 

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