Republican members of Congress have written separate letters to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Google CEO Sundar Pichai expressing concerns about the companies’ collection of data on students, among other issues.
GOP members on the House Oversight and Reform Committee wrote the letters to Microsoft and Google requesting information about safety and data collection practices by the tech giants.
“Children continue to spend increased time online as schools remain shuttered across the country,” the lawmakers wrote in the letters to Google and Microsoft. “Parents should be able to protect their children online and monitor their activities to ensure they are not accessing inappropriate content or being targeted in any way. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.”
The lawmakers said that they’re “particularly concerned” over the “lack of clarity surrounding parental consent for collection of personally identifiable information such as geolocation” based on Google and Microsoft’s terms of service stating that children can access communication services – such as Outlook and Skype – and can freely communicate and share data with other users of all ages.
“This raises serious concerns about who children are communicating with during the school day, particularly when many working parents have other obligations,” lawmakers wrote.
The GOP lawmakers want to know more about how data collected from academic institutions, students, and educators is utilized by Google and Microsoft, and whether the companies are protecting student’s data from improper use. They requested various documents and information from the companies by July 20.