Google has decided to discontinue data-mining within its Apps for Education services, which previously had the ability to collect and use student data from Gmail for advertising purposes.
Available to discuss the issue of data-mining, user privacy and campus technology is Cynthia Herrera Lindstrom, chief information officer at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
"Scanning violates users' privacy rights, so this is a step in the right direction," she said. "You are tracked by everything that you do – searching, smart phones that track your locations, cookies that leave trails on your machines - they are used to target ads for the user."
More than 30 million students, teachers and administrators use Google Apps for Education, which includes Gmail, Google Docs, Calendar and Google Drive.
Due to Google's new privacy measures, ads in these education app services have been disabled and administrators will no longer have the option or ability to activate display ads.
Exposure to ads was not an issue for students using the app services at UIC, where administrators deactivated ad display for Google.
"Our students were not targeted," she said.
Lindstrom, who is also the executive director of UIC’s Academic Computing and Communications Center, has nearly three decades of experience in campus technology services and systems.