Alibi V.29 No.9 • Feb 27-March 4, 2020 

Newscity

NM Sues Google

The News Monkey

Last week, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas sued Google, claiming the company is violating federal and state laws by collecting children's personal data.

The Associated Press reports that the lawsuit accuses Google of spying on children through an education services package that it offers to school districts and teachers called Google Education. The free package features tools for educators to centralize their class projects, assignments, forms and other files in a single place.

Balderas claims that the suite also gives the company access to monitor the browsing habits of students and teachers in the classroom and at home while on a private network. The suit alleges that Google is collecting data that includes physical locations, browsing history, saved passwords and contact lists.

In a press release, Balderas said that by collecting data from children under the age of 13, Google is violating the Federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and New Mexico’s Unfair Practices Act.

“Student safety should be the number one priority of any company providing services to our children, particularly in schools,” said Balderas. “Tracking student data without parental consent is not only illegal, it is dangerous; and my office will hold any company accountable who compromises the safety of New Mexican children.”

Balderas' offices notified schools that there was no immediate danger in continuing to use the apps and said the lawsuit should not interfere with daily instruction at schools.

BernCo Sheriff to Lead Crime Subcommittee

US Attorney General William Barr has appointed Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III to chair the Mental Illness Working Group as part of a national effort to fight crime.

According to KRQE, the group is a subcommittee of the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice, which was created to study issues facing modern law enforcement agencies and develop new tactics for the future. The commission is made up of 15 working groups that will focus on a different topics, including technological innovations, recruiting officers and substance abuse.

The Mental Illness Working Group will focus on the impact mental health has on interactions between officers and citizens. “Part of the committee position will be … to figure out what are the best practices, what's cutting edge for law enforcement and what we can do in the future to aid law enforcement to better deal with people with mental health issues,” Gonzales said in a recent interview.

GOP Vows Power Grab

Last week, state Republican leaders said that they will take the House back from state Democrats.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that state GOP leaders believe the success of the red-flag gun law will inspire independent-voting gun owners to vote against state Democrats this year. “If you are a freedom-loving New Mexican, you missed out,” New Mexico House Minority Whip Rod Montoya said during a press conference. “They decided to take your freedoms away from you.”

Republican leaders also pointed to arguments over abortion rights and the push to legalize recreational cannabis as reasons for conservative voters to become more active in 2020.