Google Wouldn't Tell Us Why It Didn't Sign President Obama's Student Privacy Pledge

Eric schmidtREUTERS/Rebecca NadenGoogle Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt speaks about the connected world, at the Hay Festival, in Hay-on-Wye, central Wales May 25, 2013.

The White House announced its commitment to protecting students’ privacy online in a press release on Monday.

Part of that commitment was a pledge companies could sign saying they wouldn’t misuse students’ data.

The pledge has some pretty specific commitments in it. Companies must promise to “not sell student personal information” and “to collect, use, share, and retain student personal information only for purposes for which we were authorised” by schools, teachers, or parents.

75 companies, including Apple and Microsoft, signed the pledge.

Google did not.

This is relevant because Google sells a a lot of products to schools, including a suite of apps called Google Apps for Education. The company’s education apps are used by 40 million people, it says.

Google told Business Insider it didn’t sign the pledge because “because [Google’s] contracts and policies demonstrate [its] commitment to student privacy.” Google also said protecting users’ data was “a top priority.”

But Google would not say which, if any, commitments in the pledge were objectionable.

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