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Mass. Bill Would Put Privacy Squeeze on Cloud Apps For Schools 95

An anonymous reader points out a story at The Register about a Microsoft-backed bill proposed by Massachusetts state representative Carlo Basil which seems aimed directly at Google's cloud apps. The bill, if it should be enacted, would require that "[a]ny person who provides a cloud computing service to an educational institution operating within the State shall process data of a student enrolled in kindergarten through twelfth grade for the sole purpose of providing the cloud computing service to the educational institution and shall not process such data for any commercial purpose, including but not limited to advertising purposes that benefit the cloud computing service provider."
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Mass. Bill Would Put Privacy Squeeze on Cloud Apps For Schools

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  • by Enforcer-99 ( 1407855 ) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @08:28AM (#43125055)
    Actually Google Apps for Education already has an option not to show ads - in fact I bet 100% of Google Apps for Education domains do this already so Google does not rely on advertising for these domains as it is. GAE is about mind-share and getting them Google-ized early - just like Microsoft has done for decades.
  • by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @08:28AM (#43125057)

    Google will simply stop offering free GApps for Education for Massachusetts Schools and Non-Profits. The reason the service is free is google is counting on that data.

    Not quite. Google Apps for Non-Profits does show ads, yes, but Google Apps for Education does not show advertisements to students or staff (it's like Google Apps Premier in that regards, except for the increase in quota). Google also goes farther than the bill, because University accounts are free of ads (not just K-12 accounts). Google only asks that once the students become alumni, that the ads get turned on by the University staff. It has always been that way since the very beginning of Google Apps.

    May be, this bill is targeted at the Kindle (or perhaps the iPad). I believe these two have made more inroads into the K-12 market than Google Apps anyway.

    1.4 Ads.
    a. Default. The default setting for the Services is one that does not allow Google to serve Ads. Customer may change this setting in the Admin Console, which constitutes Customer’s authorization for Google to serve Ads. If Customer enables the serving of Ads, it may revert to the default setting at any time and Google will cease serving Ads.
    b. Selectively Showing Ads. Notwithstanding Section 1.4(a), if Customer separates different classifications of End Users by domain or Google provides the capability for Customer to show Ads only to particular sets of End Users within the same domain, then Customer must enable the serving of Ads to End Users who are alumni.
    c. Selectively Showing Ads. If Customer chooses to separate different classifications of End Users by domain, then Customer must enable the serving of Ads to Alumni. If Google provides the capability for Customer to show Ads only to particular sets of End Users, then Customer must enable Google's serving of Ads to End Users who are not Students or Staff. []

  • by Hentes ( 2461350 ) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @08:34AM (#43125081)

    The problem is, in the free market you can choose whether getting free cloud services is worth your privacy or not. But the kids didn't have a say in this matter, in fact I bet you didn't even ask them whether they agree with you forwarding their data to a third party.

  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @12:18PM (#43125909)

    Bill Gates funds massive school child database

    New Gates-funded database keeps addresses and social security numbers of millions of children, so don’t worry

    But the most influential new product may be the least flashy: a $100 million database built to chart the academic paths of public school students from kindergarten through high school.

    In operation just three months, the database already holds files on millions of children identified by name, address and sometimes social security number. Learning disabilities are documented, test scores recorded, attendance noted. In some cases, the database tracks student hobbies, career goals, attitudes toward school – even homework completion

    From PJ at Groklaw:

    And Microsoft is pushing for a law in Massachusetts that would prevent Google from being used for educational use, based on alleged and vague claims of conceivable privacy issues, when Google does *not* turn on ads for kids? Are they kidding?! What hypocrisy. And what interesting timing.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming