Technology Two children sue Google for allegedly collecting students' biometric data
US opens investigation into Google amid Sonos patent suit
It's been about a month since Sonos sued Google for allegedly violating some of its patents behind syncing wireless speakers, and now the US government is getting involved. The US International Trade Commission today announced that it had voted to investigate whether Google and its parent company Alphabet have imported patent-infringing products into the country. To be clear, this doesn't mean the US government has decided that Google has violated Sonos' patents -- but whether or not those patents were violated should fall under the scope of this investigation.
Two children from Illinois are suing Google for allegedly collecting biometric data, including face scans, of millions of students through the search giant's software tools for classrooms.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday in a federal court in San Jose, California, is seeking class-action status. The children, known only as H.K. and J.C. in the complaint, are suing through their father, Clinton Farwell.
Google is using its services to create face templates and "voiceprints" of children, the complaint says, through a program in which the search giant provides school districts across the country with Chromebooks and free access to G Suite for Education apps. Those apps include student versions of Gmail, Calendar and Google Docs.
'Handle these kids yourself': Driver abandons school bus full of kids mid-route
A bus driver with a suspended license allegedly abandoned a bus full of children in the middle of dropping them off at their homes after school. © ABC News/WABC A fleet of school buses from Mercy USA is shown on Feb. 12, 2020. A bus driver who works for the company allegedly abandoned a school bus in the middle of her route when she was taking them home on Feb. 6, 2020. The incident occurred on Feb.
The data collection would likely violate Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act, or BIPA, which regulates facial recognition, fingerprinting and other biometric technologies in the state. The practice would also likely run afoul of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, a federal law that requires sites to get parental consent when collecting personal information from users who are under 13 years old.
"Google has complete control over the data collection, use, and retention practices of the 'G Suite for Education' service, including the biometric data and other personally identifying information collected through the use of the service, and uses this control not only to secretly and unlawfully monitor and profile children, but to do so without the knowledge or consent of those children's parents," the lawsuit says.
Android 11 Developer Preview focuses on 5G and better privacy
After a brief tease, the first Android 11 Developer Preview is available for Pixel devices -- and it's clear Google is thinking about the future with this release. The test software is built with a few new technologies in mind, most notably 5G. New frameworks let app creators determine whether or not someone's on an unlimited data plan or has 5G-level bandwidth, making it possible to tailor experiences for people with unfettered connections. There's also improved support for hole-punch and waterfall screens, neural networks and low-latency video (think Stadia).As with Android 10, privacy and security will play important roles.
Google declined to comment. Bloombergnews of the lawsuit.
The lawsuit is asking for damages of $1,000 for each member of the class for BIPA violations Google committed "negligently," or $5,000 each for each violation committed "intentionally or recklessly."
The complaint underscores Google's dominance in American classrooms, which has only grown in recent weeks. Schools are depending more on the tech giant's educational tools as physical classes around the nation are canceled in response to . As several states enact stay-at-home orders, usage of Google's tools has skyrocketed. Downloads of Google Classroom, which helps teachers manage classes online, have , making it the No. 1 education app on Apple's iOS and Google's Android platforms. On Thursday, Google with California Gov. Gavin Newsom to donate 4,000 Chromebooks to students across the state.
Clearview AI facial recognition app maker sued by Vermont
Complaint alleges the facial recognition company's scraping of images for its database violates state privacy laws.Clearview identifies people by comparing photos to a database of images scraped from social media and other sites. It came under fire after a New York Times investigation in January. Since then, Sen. Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, has called Clearview a "chilling" privacy risk. In addition, Google, YouTube, Microsoft and Twitter have sent cease-and-desist letters to Clearview. The company also faces multiple lawsuits.
The lawsuit isn't the first time Google has drawn criticism for its classroom efforts. In February, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderasfor allegedly violating COPPA through its educational platforms. The lawsuit accused Google of collecting information on students' locations, their passwords, what websites they've visited, what they've searched for on Google and YouTube, their contact lists and voice recordings.
Google has also faced broader blowback for its handling of children's data. In September, the US Federal Trade Commission, as well as new requirements, for 's violation of COPPA. In response, the video site made major changes to how it treats kids videos, including limiting the data it collects from those views.
Google sued by Arizona over location data and alleged consumer fraud .
The search giant collects data without users' "consent or knowledge," Arizona's attorney general claims.The company generates the vast majority of its revenue through its massive advertising operation, which is buttressed by personal information Google collects when people use its products. But users were "lulled into a false sense of security" because Google led users to believe they disabled settings for location data gathering, when they were still turned on, Brnovich wrote on Twitter.