Google Products, Software Banned From School Computers in Denmark

Officials cited privacy concerns.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Officials in Denmark have ruled that google services cannot be used in their schools due to privacy risks.
  • This move comes after officials in a municipality were ordered to conduct a risk assessment of Google’s handling of personal data.
  • Following the results of the assessment, the country’s data protection agency, Datatilsynet ruled that none of Google’s services can be used.
  • Included in the services that are not allowed are Drive, Gmail, Docs, and Chromebooks, which are said to “not meet the requirements of the EU’s GDPR data privacy.”
  • The data protection agency cited Google’s terms and conditions allowance to transfer data to be stored out of the region, which violates the country’s safety laws.
  • Currently, the rule is only being enforced in the Helsingor municipality, but Datatilsynet said it expects other municipalities “to take relevant steps” in light of Helsingor’s findings.
GOOGLE’S RESPONSE:
  • “We know that students and schools expect the technology they use to be legally compliant, responsible, and safe. That’s why for years, Google has invested in privacy best practices and diligent risk assessments, and made our documentation widely available so anyone can see how we help organizations to comply with the GDPR,” a spokesperson for Google told TechCrunch.
  • “Schools own their own data. We only process their data in accordance with our contracts with them. In Workspace for Education, students’ data is never used for advertising or other commercial purposes. Independent organizations have audited our services, and we keep our practices under constant review to maintain the highest possible standards of safety and compliance.”
BACKGROUND:
  • Some concerns about privacy in Google’s range of products have persisted in the past few years, particularly following the company’s announcement of vulnerabilities in Google’s browser, Chrome later last year.
  • It’s estimated that around 2.65 billion users globally use Chrome as their primary browser, and the chances of a critical security threat grow as the user base grows.
  • The company’s official blog warned that there were potential data vulnerabilities to Chrome for Linux, macOS, and Windows users, putting as many as 2 billion users at risk.