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Google in NOT EVIL shocker: Bins student email ad scanning

No more rooting through your virtual postbox, Mountain View promises

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Google has taken the astonishing decision to stay partly true to its founding promise after deciding to stop scanning kids' emails.

Until now, Google automatically rooted through all users' mails so they could be targeted for advertising.

But now Mountain View has decided to abide by its "don't be evil" maxim and stop the scanning of students' emails, although everyone else is still fair game.

Bram Bout, director of education, told the Washington Post that it will no longer scan email accounts used by about 30 million teachers and students.

In fact, Google will now no longer collect data from any of the services offered as part of Google Apps for Education, which offers email, calendars and other handy stuff.

Its decision follows a court case in which students sued Google for scanning their email accounts.

Teachers welcomed Mountain View's decision.

"Commercialisation seeps into all corners of children's lives," said Christine Blower, general secretary, of the NUT.

"The targeting of children with advertising ranging from fast food to designer clothes is relentlessly pursued by commercial companies. This is a welcome move."

But what about the rest of us? Surely we don't deserve to have our emails scanned so Google can show us advertising?

"It is certainly telling that a company like Google, which is so reliant on data driven advertising, is taking steps to act on people's concerns about their privacy," said Emma Carr, deputy director of Big Brother Watch.

"Scanning emails is clearly intrusive, so any step to protect children is a positive one. However, Google could certainly go further by introducing the same controls for users of all ages and for all of its services." ®

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