Privacy & Security Information
Google's mission is to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Ensuring that teachers and students everywhere have access to technology to learn and work together fits naturally with that mission.
That is why we provide educators with powerful solutions that are affordable and easy to use. We know that trust is earned through protecting teacher and student privacy and providing the best security measures. This web page explains our privacy and security commitments in plain language.
What are G Suite for Education core services?
The G Suite for Education (formerly called Google Apps for Education) core services are the heart of Google's educational offering to schools. The core services are Gmail (including Inbox by Gmail), Calendar, Classroom, Contacts, Drive, Docs, Forms, Groups, Sheets, Sites, Slides, Talk/Hangouts and Vault. These services are provided under the G Suite agreement.
Schools can use G Suite core services in compliance with COPPA and FERPA. G Suite core services contain no advertising and do not use information in those services for advertising purposes.
More than 50 million students, teachers and administrative staff members in almost every country in the world rely on G Suite to learn and work together. We are committed to protecting the privacy and security of all of our users, including students.
Does Google own school/university or student data?
We provide powerful, easy-to-use management tools and dashboards to help administrative staff keep track of their organisation's services, usage and data. We only keep your personal information as long as you ask us to keep it. If an education department, school or university decides to stop using Google, we make it easy for them to take their data with them.Learn how to take data out of Google Read the contract (section on "intellectual property")
Does Google sell school or student data to third parties?
Are there ads in G Suite?
No. There are no ads in the suite of G Suite core services. Outside the G Suite Core Services, additional Google services may show ads, as described in the G Suite Privacy Notice. For G Suite users in primary/secondary schools, Google does not use any user personal information (or any information associated with a Google Account) to target ads.Read our G Suite agreement (Google's contract with schools covering G Suite core services) Read our G Suite Privacy Notice More about Privacy
How does Google keep data secure?
We are fully committed to the security and privacy of your data and protecting you and your school or university from attempts to compromise it. Our systems are among the industry's most secure, and we vigorously resist any unlawful attempt to access our customers' data.
Google's data centres use custom hardware running a custom hardened operating system and file system. Each of these systems has been optimised for security and performance. Because Google controls the entire hardware stack, we are able to respond quickly to any threats or weaknesses that may emerge.
Google encrypts Gmail (including attachments) and Drive data while on the move. This ensures that your messages are safe not only when they move between you and Google's servers, but also as they move between Google's data centres.More about security
How does Google ensure that its tools are reliable?
Our proven infrastructure handles more than 100 billion search queries each month and scales services such as Gmail to hundreds of millions of users with 99.978% availability and no scheduled downtime. We have more than 450 full-time engineers – the world's foremost experts in security – working to protect your information.More about reliability
Which third parties have reviewed Google’s security practices?
We connect with independent auditors to review our data protection practices. Ernst & Young, an independent auditor, has verified that our practices and contractual commitments for G Suite comply with ISO/IEC 27018:2014. G Suite and our data centres are also SSAE 16/ISAE 3402 Type II SOC 2-audited and have achieved ISO 27001 certification.More about Compliance See our security audit certifications Details of SOC3
How do I know that other customers sharing the same servers can't access my data?
Your data is logically protected as if it were on its own server. Unauthorised parties cannot access your data. Other customers cannot access your data, and you can't access theirs. In fact, all user accounts are protected by this secure architecture that ensures that one user cannot see another user's data. This is similar to how customer data is segmented in other shared infrastructures, such as online banking applications.
How do you know that we're keeping our word?
We make contractual commitments in our G Suite agreement and commit to comply with privacy and security standards here. And whether it's real-time dashboards to verify system performance, our ongoing auditing of our processes or sharing the location of our data centres, we're committed to providing all of our users with the utmost transparency. It's your data, and we want you to know what happens with it so that you can always make informed choices.More about transparency
Has Google signed the Student Privacy Pledge?
Yes. In order to reaffirm the commitments that we've made to schools, Google has signed the Student Privacy Pledge. This pledge, introduced by the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), is intended to reflect our commitment to safeguard the personal information of students in our services designed for use in schools.Read the Student Privacy Pledge
Does Google encrypt my data?
Yes. Data is encrypted at several levels. Google forces HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) for all transmissions between users and G Suite services and uses Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) for all its services. Google also encrypts message transmissions with other mail servers using 256-bit Transport Layer Security (TLS) and utilizes 2048 RSA encryption keys for the validation and key exchange phases. This protects message communications when users send and receive emails with external parties also using TLS.
What kind of scanning or indexing of user data is done on G Suite for Education accounts?
G Suite services don't collect or use information in those services for advertising purposes or to create ads profiles.
Gmail for consumers and G Suite users runs on the same infrastructure, which helps us to deliver high performance, reliability and security to all of our users. However, G Suite is a separate offering that provides additional security, administrative and archiving controls for education, work and government customers.
Like many email providers, we carry out scanning in Gmail to keep our customers secure and to improve their product experience. In Gmail for G Suite, this includes virus and spam protection, spell check, relevant search results and features such as Priority Inbox and auto-detection of calendar events. Scanning to provide product features is carried out on all incoming emails and is 100% automated. We do NOT scan G Suite emails for advertising purposes.Read our G Suite Privacy Notice
Can G Suite for Education be used in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)?Learn more about FERPA
Given the changes around the US-EU Safe Harbor Agreement, what options does G Suite for Education offer for meeting EU Data Protection Directive requirements?
Schools and universities can opt in to our data-processing amendment and model contract clauses. These are an additional means of meeting the adequacy and security requirements of the EU Data Protection Directive. Model contract clauses were created specifically by the European Commission to permit the transfer of personal data from Europe.
If you have not already done so, we'd like to remind our G Suite customers to consider opting in to the data-processing amendment and model contract clauses.See opt-in instructions More about model contract clauses
Can G Suite for Education be used in compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA)?
Yes. We contractually require that schools using G Suite obtain the parental consent required by COPPA. Our services can be used in compliance with COPPA as long as a school has parental consent.Read COPPA Read our help center article “Getting consent for G Suite”
Who uses Chromebooks for Education?
Millions of students use Chromebooks for learning. Privacy and security features have helped make Chromebooks the top-selling device to US primary and secondary schools for the past two years. Administrative staff can manage settings to give students as much or as little access as the school desires.
Although Chromebooks are not a core service, we ensure that they comply with the Student Privacy Pledge so that schools can use them in compliance with COPPA and FERPA. Specifically, we ensure that no data entered into a Chromebook is used to target advertisements to students. Find out more below.
Are Chromebooks secure for my students?
Yes. Chromebooks are designed with multiple layers of security to keep them safe from viruses and malware without any additional security software. A full 10% of boot time is dedicated to re-verifying that the device has not been tampered with, so every time you power on a Chromebook, your security is checked. And because Chromebooks can be managed from the web, it's easy for school administrative staff to configure policies and settings, such as enabling safe browsing or blocking malicious sites.More about Chromebook security More about Chromebook privacy Read the Chrome privacy whitepaper
Are Chromebooks compatible with online testing?
Chromebooks are a secure platform for administering student assessments and, when set up properly, these devices meet primary and secondary education testing standards. With Chromebooks, you can disable students' access to browse the web during an exam, in addition to disabling external storage, screenshots and the ability to print. Both the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) (see TestNav) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium have verified that Chromebooks meet hardware and operating system requirements for online students.Configure Chromebooks for testing
How is data used and protected for students on Chromebooks for Education?
Chrome Sync enables Google Account holders to log in to any Chromebook or Chrome browser and find all of their apps, extensions, bookmarks and frequently visited web pages. For students, this means that they can get to work straight away. That's one of the reasons why Chromebooks have become so popular in classrooms, especially for schools that can't afford a device for every child. With Chromebooks and Chrome Sync, students can have a personalised experience on any device that they share with their classmates.
Personally identifiable Chrome Sync data in G Suite accounts is only used to power features in Chrome for that person, for example allowing students to access their own browsing data and settings, securely, across devices. In addition, our systems compile data aggregated from millions of users of Chrome Sync, and, after completely removing information about individual users, we use this data to holistically improve the services that we provide. For example, if data shows that millions of people are visiting a web page that is broken, that site would be moved lower in the search results. This is not connected to any specific person, nor is it used to analyse student behaviours. If they choose to, administrative staff can disable Chrome Sync and users can choose what information to sync. G Suite users' Chrome Sync data is not used to target ads to individual students.Learn more about Chrome Sync Learn how to manage Chrome devices See how to encrypt your synced data
Schools can control whether students or teachers can use additional Google consumer services with their G Suite accounts. We are committed to ensuring that the personal information of primary and secondary students is not used to target ads in these services, and in some cases, we show no ads at all.
How can families keep their kids safe online?
Along with this page, which provides details on the services that we offer to schools, you can find guidance for keeping your kids safe online outside of school. We've worked with many partners to create the Google Family Safety Centre.Visit the Google Family Safety Centre