Google is facing yet another privacy-related issue, with New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas suing the company for collecting children’s personal data.
The suit stems from Google’s sale of its Chromebook devices to schools for their students’ use, along with the company’s G Suite of office software and email. According to the lawsuit, the company collects vast amounts of personal information, via the services, from students under 13 years-old and without parental consent.
“Student safety should be the number one priority of any company providing services to our children, particularly in schools,” said Attorney General Balderas. “Tracking student data without parental consent is not only illegal, it is dangerous; and my office will hold any company accountable who compromises the safety of New Mexican children.”
In a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Balderas expresses his concern about the dangers associated with the alleged data collection:
“Because the data Google has illegally collected can then be spread across the globe through both legitimate and illegitimate means, I am bringing a lawsuit to immediately stop this practice. Data brokers and marketing technology firms that do business with Google have been credibly accused of targeting children under the age of 13 with age-inappropriate advertising. Worse yet, some of these same firms have suffered significant data breaches, causing personal information to end up for sale on the dark web, hosted in countries well beyond the reach of law enforcement. As Attorney General, I must take swift legal action in order to protect our children.”
According to Reuters, Google has denied the allegations, calling them “factually wrong,” although they did not elaborate. We will continue to monitor the story and provide updates.