Future of Privacy Forum Statement Regarding Electronic Frontier Foundation Student Privacy Complaint

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In response to the allegations made today that Google has violated commitments of the Student Privacy Pledge (SPP), FPF Executive Director Jules Polonetsky issued the following statement:

“We have reviewed the EFF complaint but do not believe it has merit.  Chrome Sync is a setting within the control of the school IT administrator, and can also be changed by parents or students.  This feature allows students to log in at home or at a library and have access to their school bookmarks, favorites and other settings.  Since Chromebooks may be shared among students in school (with password-protected accounts for each student using that particular hardware device), many schools rely on Sync so that multiple students have ready access to their accounts and settings on the same device.  We understand that any data collected is not used for behavioral advertising and all other data uses are aggregated and anonymous.  The Chrome Sync setting is a general feature of all Chromebooks, whether purchased by schools or the general public.  We don’t believe the complaint raises any issues about data use that are restricted by the Student Privacy Pledge.”