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Google's Privacy Policy: Does It Impact Campuses or Not?

Today, March 1st, Google’s new privacy policy goes into effect.  While Google says that sharing user data across its web services will deliver better search results and targeted advertisements for the user, privacy advocates have criticized it widely for the ease with which Google will be able to collect and connect data on individuals. 

What does this mean for campuses that have contracted with Google for email and other applications?  According to a statement by Google’s VP for enterprise, Amit Singh, “[I]nstitutions using the company’s suite of applications, which includes e-mail, calendars, and documents, will see no changes to their contractual agreements.”  Yet another spokesperson for Google confirmed that if network administrators on campuses have enabled additional optional services (e.g., Google+, YouTube, blogging tool) the “use of those additions will be governed by the new privacy policy.”

The Chronicle spoke with campus technology administrators about the policy change and asked them if they saw the need to modify their agreements with Google.  Those administrators interviewed believe that their agreements provided sufficient protections for their user groups and have not made any changes.  Their plan is to monitor the situation and then act if and when necessary.

EDUCAUSE will continue to monitor and report on this issue.

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