Deborah Stevenson
Biometric and personal data collection of students through 'Google G Suite for Education'
Why does a nationwide so-called homeschool defense organization promote its use by homeschoolers?
By Deborah Stevenson
April 8, 2020

Google G Suite has been around for a while. Google gives public school districts free Chromebooks so that they can use Google G Suite for its students. This is a nationwide marketing plan. What happens when children use Google G Suite? Yes, it may be an educational tool, but it also is a huge data mining tool for Google. What exactly Google does with all of the data collected is not fully known. Does it share any of it with the government, for example? Possibly. We simply don't know if they do or to what extent, if they do.

The fact that Google, through Google G Suite, collects data on children using it has been known for a while, but the latest example can be found in a recent article. That article published by CNet indicates that, finally, Google is being sued by some public school students for its secret data mining operation through Google G Suite. The article says that two Illinois students filed a lawsuit against Google for allegedly collecting students' biometric data, including face templates and voice prints of children, through Google G Suite and its apps. The article quotes the lawsuit as saying,
    "Google has complete control over the data collection, use, and retention practices of the 'G Suite for Education' service, including the biometric data and other personally identifying information collected through the use of the service, and uses this control not only to secretly and unlawfully monitor and profile children, but to do so without the knowledge or consent of those children's parents."
We shall see if the lawsuit gets approval as a class action lawsuit, and if it succeeds in curtailing the data mining operation by Google.

But this article, and the lawsuit, begs the question: Why does HSLDA support Google G Suite, and actively promote its use by homeschoolers, when the data mining operation has been well known for years?

HSLDA, or Homeschool Legal Defense Association, founded by Michael Farris, has known about the issue of data collecting by Google G Suite for a long time, and simply dismisses the issue. How do we know this? We know that the issue was brought to the attention of attorneys for HSLDA, yet they continue to support it.

Not only does HSLDA support it, but they actively worked with Google to get it into the homeschool community, and they promote and advertise it use on their website. The website says, for example,
    "HSLDA worked with Google to open up its G Suite for Education to homeschool organizations. Your co-op can now take advantage of the wealth of productivity tools offered in the Suite. . . . it's voluntary, and best of all, it's FREE!....

    If you are a state or regional homeschool organization that wants to participate, please contact HSLDA to set up an account....

    We're happy to help your co-op's productivity needs. . . . it's just another way we're making homeschooling possible."
Knowing that Google is collecting massive quantities of data on students, for unknown purposes, still, HSLDA actively promotes its use?

Tell me why? Why did HSLDA seemingly partner with Google?

Ask yourselves why?

Why would HSLDA want homeschoolers to use Google G Suite, knowing that by using it, the personal data of homeschoolers would be collected by Google as well?

How is that "another way of making homeschooling possible"?

Could it be that it would make it easier, not only for Google, but also for others, including the government, to mine the data of homeschoolers as well?

How is facilitating the data collection of homeschoolers, by anyone, especially by the government, helping homeschoolers to retain their freedom?

NHELD does not think it does at all. What do you think?

Attorney Stevenson is the founder of National Home Education Legal Defense, LLC. For more information you can go here:

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© Deborah Stevenson


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Deborah Stevenson

Deborah Stevenson is an appellate and constitutional law attorney and the founder of the National Home Education Legal Defense, LLC. She has been practicing law since 1999 and is legal counsel to many civic organizations, including Connecticut Homeschool Network, Inc., We the People of Connecticut, Inc., Connecticut Parents' Rights Coalition... (more)


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