New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas (D) is suing Google over allegations
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas (D) is suing Google over allegations that the tech giant is collecting reams of personal information about children without proper parental consent, violating a slew of federal and state laws and exploiting local school systems in the process.
After conducting an expansive investigation, Balderas says his office found Google is profiting off of sensitive information about children as New Mexico schools use Google’s free classroom software and computers.
“My investigation revealed that Google tracks children across the internet, across devices, in their homes and well outside the educational sphere, all without obtaining verifiable parental consent,” Balderas wrote in a public letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Thursday.
Under-resourced school districts in New Mexico, and across the U.S. more broadly, use Google’s free educational tools under the premise that Google will not violate children’s privacy.
But according to Balderas, Google has been siphoning off children’s data, including their physical location and their personal contact lists, as the company’s educational tools become more prevalent in the classroom. More than 80 million teachers and students in the U.S. use Google’s free educational products.
“Because Google has used this access to collect massive quantities of data from young children, not to benefit the schools you have contracted with, but to benefit Google’s own commercial interests, I am forced to bring legal action to prohibit this dangerous conduct,” Balderas wrote.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, is seeking penalties as well as an end to the business practices to which Balderas is pointing.