Google halts student Gmail advertisement scans (BBC, 30 April 2014) – Google has stopped scanning millions of Gmail accounts linked to an educational scheme – a process it uses to target adverts. The decision includes email accounts associated with Google Apps for Education (GAE) . This initiative provides teachers and students with access to free apps and storage, as well as customised email addresses. The move follows reports the scans might have breached a US privacy law. Google highlighted its use of such scans when it updated its terms and conditions last month. “Our automated systems analyse your content (including emails) to provide you personally-relevant product features, such as customised search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored,” the terms read . However, the Education Week website said this data-mining activity might place the firm in breach of the US Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. “We’ve permanently removed all ads scanning in Gmail for Apps for Education, which means Google cannot collect or use student data in Apps for Education services for advertising purposes,” wrote Google for Education director Bram Bout on a company blog. The change is also promised for users who signed up to Gmail as part of the service while at school or university, but have now moved on.

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