Under pressure of lawsuit, Google stops scanning student eMail for keywords

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Google will no longer scan student and faculty eMails for advertising keywords, the company announced this week.

The change comes on the heels of a lawsuit in California that alleged the scanning was in violation of wirtetap laws, as well as a more general public outcry about the practice.

In a blog post Wednesday, Bram Bout, director of Google for Education, said the change was being made for security purposes.

“Today more than 30 million students, teachers and administrators globally rely on Google Apps for Education,” Bout said. “Earning and keeping their trust drives our business forward. We know that trust is earned through protecting their privacy and providing the best security measures.”

Google Apps for Education uses Gmail as an eMail service, which has long used keyword searches for advertising purposes. For example, a scan could find repeated uses of the word “coffee,” and that could help direct Google advertising elsewhere.

(Next page: Why the concern?)

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