Franken Presses Google on EdTech Data

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) has written to Google asking it to explain how it collects and shares K-12 student data related to EdTech educational products.

In a letter to Google CEA Sundar Pichai, Franken said he was concerned that via EDTech related data, "Google may be able to create detailed profiles of students and ultimately target them for advertising or use the profiles for other non-educational purposes."

He asked for answers to a bunch of questions about its Google Apps for Education (GAFE) services by Feb. 12, including what data the app collects, what it is used for, and if that ever includes targeting ads to student.

“I believe Americans have a fundamental right to privacy, and that right includes a student or parent’s access to information about what data are being collected about them and how the data are being used," he wrote. "To achieve greater transparency in the EdTech industry, I ask that you provide more information on Google for Education products and services and how the company is addressing issues of student privacy and security.”

Online privacy has been a signature issue for Franken, ranking member of the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law.

A Google spokesperson pointed out that the company had responded to an Electronic Frontier Foundation complaint about GAFE adding "we're very happy to provide Senator Franken with more information."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.