Google’s commitment to student-data privacy is again under scrutiny, this time over allegations that the company is violating a state consumer-protection law.
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood filed a lawsuit earlier this month alleging that Google’s policies and practices regarding online tracking of students remain unclear, despite the company’s public pledge to not collect and use student data for commercial purposes, such as targeting advertisements to students.
The suit seeks to force Google to be more transparent about its free, web-based G Suite for Education service, used by tens of millions of students worldwide, including more than half of the roughly 500,000 K-12 students in Mississippi.
“Through this lawsuit, we want to know the extent of Google’s data mining and marketing of student information to third parties,” Hood said in a statement.
Hood previously sought to investigate whether the company was aiding illegal music pirating and drug sales, an effort the company said was part of a smear campaign coordinated by Hood’s financial backers. In a letter to Mississippi superintendents, the attorney general asked schools to preserve evidence that could be relevant to the state’s suit.
A version of this article appeared in the January 25, 2017 edition of Education Week as Miss. AG Sues Google Inc. Over Student-Data Privacy