A group of nine students from California have taken up legal route against Google, believing that the technology giant monitors Gmail accounts in a way that violates the state and federal privacy laws. The case is currently being heard by the US District Court for Northern District of California.
Google’s web-based free education suit, Apps for Education is used by millions of students across the world, being exposed to the software through their educational institutes. Gmail is one of the components of Apps for Education and majority of users are under the age of 18.
A representative from Google told Education Week that the Mountain View based company checks all the emails related to Apps for Education and that information is used for advertising and other purposes.
Experts believe, the outcome of case will have far reaching effects on how educational users’ privacy will be determined in future and the way Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is inferred. FERPA, which was introduced in 1974, focuses on the privacy of information of under-18 students.
The complainants are demanding class-action certification, and in case of failing to defend itself, Google will have to compensate in millions to Gmail users.