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Google Disables Scanning of Student Email for Advertising Purposes

June 9, 2014

Students using their laptops outdoors on campus.

"Under pressure from privacy advocates, Google announced on Wednesday that it had permanently removed all ads from its Apps for Education, including its email service, so the company can no longer harvest students’ information for advertising purposes. Google had previously given college administrators the option of allowing the company to scan student Gmail accounts for key words and to deliver targeted advertisements to those students. But since few administrators are likely to have taken advantage of the possibility, most users won’t see a change.

The company outlined the changes on Wednesday in an online statement by Bram Bout, director of Google Apps for Education. 'We’ve permanently removed the ‘enable/disable’ toggle for ads in the Apps for Education Administrator console,' wrote Mr. Bout. Google said that Gmail collects data on all incoming and outgoing messages for several reasons. The practice allows the company to identify certain messages as spam, and makes it possible for users to unearth old emails with key-word searches."

Read more at The Chronicle of Higher Education