A Danish City Built Google Into Its Schools—Then Banned It

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Some children could adapt better without them than others. Throughout his career in education, Pederson has never heard a single parent complain about data protection. But after the Google ban, he did receive complaints—mostly from parents of dyslexic students, who rely on Chromebook tools such as AppWriter.

There might be ambivalence among many Danish parents—but not all. “I hope [the ban] spreads, as we are giving too much information to multinational corporations, who by their very nature are untrustworthy,” says Jan Gronemann, a parent of four whose children go to a school in Haslev, another part of Denmark, that uses Microsoft not Google. Like other Danish privacy activists and local business owners who spoke to WIRED, Gronemann is concerned that the data Google has access to about how young people behave online could enable them to be manipulated, for advertising or politics, later in life.

“If you know the zip code of an individual, if you know their economic output, if you know their birthday, what their behavior is when they go from Amazon to Disney to Walmart to Target, guess what? Your prediction ability is huge,” says Omino Gardezi, a former Disney consultant who now runs Lirrn, a privacy-focused education startup based in Copenhagen.

This local issue is also fanning a Europe-wide debate about what happens to European data in the hands of American tech companies. European courts have ruled multiple times that European data sent to the US can potentially be snooped on by intelligence agencies such as the National Security Agency. Facebook-parent Meta has so far been the focus for concerns about data moved from the EU to the US. In August, Norway said Meta should be fined for sending Europeans’ data to the US. In July, the Irish data protection regulator said it will

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