Attention Students, Google Will Stop Reading Your Emails

A sign is posted on the exterior of Google headquarters on January 30, 2014 in Mountain View, California.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Hey students, good news. Google says it’s going to stop reading your emails.

The tech giant announced Wednesday that it will no longer scan messages sent through its education apps, which are used by more than 30 million students and educators. The company will also turn off advertising on the platform.

School administrators, parents and students had protested a policy that previously let Google index emails and target ads at graduates using the apps, even after graduation.

The change comes in the wake of a lawsuit from privacy advocates who criticized the company for its handling of student data.

“Earning and keeping their trust drives our business forward,” Bram Bout, the director of Google for Education, wrote in a blog post. “We know that trust is earned through protecting their privacy and providing the best security measures.”

Bram sought to allay any privacy concerns, writing, “We always use an encrypted HTTPS connection when you check or send email in Gmail, which means no one can listen in on your messages as they go back and forth between your laptop, phone or tablet and Gmail’s servers — even if you’re using public WiFi.”

The company will hold a Google Hangout to discuss student privacy on Thursday morning.

Google’s announcement isn’t unique. A Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-backed education software company, InBloom, announced last week that it will shut down after criticism for how it collects and uses student data.

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