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Need money for school? Sue Google

Who hasn't been a student in need of money? Back in my day, we would pick up an extra shift at the library or clean petrie dishes for the biology department. But we were a simple people--easily delighted and distracted by things like carpenter pants and network TV. These days, students are much more sophisticated. 

Case in point: A group of students in California is suing Google. They claim Google's Gmail monitoring violates federal and state privacy laws. The story was written up by Mashable in fuller detail here.

The nine students who are bringing the case are focused on something called "Apps for Education." It's a collection of free, web-based education tools with around 30 million users. Many of these users are under 18 years of age. Therein lies the class action lawsuit: the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, ensures the privacy of records of students under 18. Evidently, Gmail might be in violation of this. 

That could potentially mean Google pays out millions to Gmail users.  Not sure how any of it will pan out... I have a feeling that Google's lawyers are of the pelagic persuasion.

Still, hats off to the students for fighting the good fight. And, just in case they need money next semester, the NSA might want to send them a preemptive fruit basketBut seriously, hats off to the students. 

About the author

Stacey Vanek Smith is a senior reporter for Marketplace, where she covers banking, consumer finance, housing and advertising.

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