Children at risk of intrusive tracking via the cloud

23 Sep 2013

Governments are being called on to regulate how schools procure online services like cloud email for the classroom. More and more schools are using cloud services in Europe, which puts children at risk of intrusive tracking and profiling by large internet firms if safeguards aren’t put in place.

A survey of European data protection officials released today by shows broad support for safeguarding especially vulnerable cloud user populations in public organisations, such as school children, civil servants, and healthcare professionals and their patients, who are at risk of being tracked and profiled for online advertising purposes.  

The majority of respondents endorsed the use of Codes of Conduct establishing rules that schools and cloud providers could voluntarily sign up to follow. recommends that these codes include a binding pledge to ban the processing and secondary use of students’ personal information for advertising purposes while in school.

“The use of commercial cloud services by schools in Europe is growing, and while the benefits of such adoption are indisputable – ease of use, cost and simplicity — the education sector contains particularly vulnerable users who require special privacy protection,” said Jeff Gould, President of

“We’re comforted by the support voiced for safeguarding school children, and today we’re asking for a clear, principled commitment from cloud, policy and education actors banning targeted advertising in schools,” Gould added.

Public IT cloud image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years