Attorney General Balderas Sues Google for Illegally Collecting Personal Data of New Mexican School Children

February 20, 2020
Contact: Matt Baca (505) 270-7148

Albuquerque, NM – Attorney General Hector Balderas today filed a lawsuit against
Google, LLC alleging the tech giant is illegally collecting personal information from New
Mexico school children under 13, in violation of the Federal Children’s Online Privacy
Protection Act and New Mexico’s Unfair Practices Act. Google offers its G Suite for
Education products (including Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, and other services),
along with Google Chromebook laptop computers, to school districts across New Mexico
at no cost. In his lawsuit, the Attorney General alleges that Google then uses its products
to collect large quantities of valuable personal information, without their parents’ consent,
from children under 13 who are often required by their schools to use these services.
“Student safety should be the number one priority of any company providing services to
our children, particularly in schools,” said Attorney General Balderas. “Tracking student
data without parental consent is not only illegal, it is dangerous; and my office will hold
any company accountable who compromises the safety of New Mexican children.”
The types of information collected include geolocation information, websites visited, terms
searched for on Google and YouTube, contact lists, voice recordings, and more. Federal
law prohibits companies from collecting these types of information from children under 13
without parental consent. The New Mexico Office of the Attorney General filed a similar
lawsuit against Google and several other tech companies in September 2018, alleging
illegal data collection from child-directed mobile apps. The companies have denied
wrongdoing, and the case awaits a decision by a federal judge in Albuquerque.
In addition to filing the suit, Attorney General Balderas has communicated with schools
across New Mexico and let them know that there is no immediate harm to the continued
use of these products and that this lawsuit should not interrupt daily instruction in our
schools. Attorney General Balderas also wrote a letter to Google’s Chief Executive Officer
demanding that the company immediately cease the practice.

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