Enlarge /. Students use Google Suite apps on computers in a classroom in Groton, Massachusetts, on May 11, 2016.
Adults who use Google products and services know, at least in the background, that the cost of accessing "free" tools is paid for in data. Google offers affordable hardware and software tools to students and educators in school districts across the country. One state states that children who violate the law also pay this privacy price.
New Mexico attorney general Hector Balderas filed a lawsuit (PDF) alleging that Google's collection and use of school children's data in its state violates the Child Online Privacy Protection Act and Unfair Practices Act Practices in New Mexico.
"To drive adoption in more schools and address legitimate concerns about the history of data breaches, Google has made public statements and promises to convince parents, teachers, and school officials that Google takes student privacy seriously, and only so." collects student educational data through its platform, "the lawsuit said. Google has also publicly promised not to mine student data for commercial purposes.
The suit claims that these promises were not kept. Instead, it says, "Google used Google Education to spy on children from New Mexico and their families" by collecting personal information for advertising purposes.
The types of data that are collected by and about children, depending on their suit, include sensitive information such as geolocation, browsing history, search history, viewing history, contact lists, saved passwords, voice recordings, and "other behavioral information".
"Tracing student information without parental consent is not only illegal but also dangerous, and my office will be held accountable for any company that threatens the safety of New Mexico children," Balderas said in a statement announcing the lawsuit has been.
Google said the state's allegations were "factually wrong," adding that it allows schools to control access and that schools need to get parental consent. "We don't use personal information from primary and secondary school users to target ads," said a company spokesman.