Google’s lawyers have revealed that Google are scanning student’s email even when ads are turned off.  Google have admitted, contrary to their privacy policy, that they do data mine student emails outside of school. The scanning of mail content is allegedly used for improved ad targeting.

Google are being investigated in both the US and EU over the circumstances surrounding data mining of student mail content without prior consent.  The EU data protection regulators believe that Google fails to notify users or acquire consent from users when scanning their data.

The questionable suites are Google Apps for Education and Office 365 Education.  These suites enable students to utilise an office suit, with schools not being charged (seems too good to be true).

Microsoft Office 365 pledges “We do not mine your data for advertising purposes”.

Microsoft office 365 was never designed to serve ads and is not designed for ad targeting through data mining.

Google’s Apps for Education however was designed to include ad serving, user profiling and data mining functions.

Google have themselves admitted:

  • In the Google Apps for Education, ad serving is a standard option
  • Scanning students email content for ad targeting purposes even when the ads are turned off(default)
  • Google’s consumer privacy policy is incorporated in the standard Google Apps for Education contracts.


Targeted ads and Google’s powerful data mining and user profiling algorithms for effective ad targeting have made Google the largest advertising company.