ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Monday, October 14, 2013

More on Google Apps for Education

After posting earlier today on the privacy issues associated with Gmail for those of us whose work accounts are Gmail accounts, I learned that Google's general terms of service do not necessarily apply to institutional accounts.  

Here's some language from the Google Apps for Education website:

Any data you put into Google Apps is yours, and it says just that in our contracts. Your information is safe from other organisations, even though it's all on the same servers. Apps’ powerful, easy-to-use tools help administrators manage things like users, documents and services, and keep track of usage and data via dashboards. And of course you fully own the data, not Google.

That's rather comforting, but then there is this:

Google Apps is governed by a detailed Privacy Policy, which ensures we will not inappropriately share or use personal information placed in our systems. Google complies with applicable US privacy law, and the Google Apps Terms of Service can specifically detail our obligations and compliance with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) regulations. Google is registered with the US-EU Safe Harbor agreement, which helps ensure that our data protection compliance meets European Union standards for educational institutions.

I find this less comforting because of the word "inapropriately" and because US privacy law and FERPA may not be enough to address all of the privacy issues involved.

If anybody has knowledge or information about this, pelase feel free to chime in.


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