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Google Apps for Education General Policy

PSU Google Apps for Education will be offered pursuant to a contract negotiated between Google and the Oregon University System. The contract was the result of months of negotiation by OUS and PSU IT professionals, attorneys and others. OUS and PSU’s negotiations were informed by resources available from Educause, a higher education IT membership group, and NACUA, the National Association of College and University Attorneys. Those resources included work by IT professionals and lawyers from University of Virginia, Duke University, Cornell, Indiana University, and many other universities. Numerous colleges and universities around the country have entered into similar agreement with Google.

Ownership and Use of Data

  • PSU owns the email, calendar and other data within our Google pdx.edu domain.
  • Google is required to comply with all applicable privacy laws. OUS’s agreement with Google specifically requires Google to comply with FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) when handling data that includes PSU student information. In addition, Google is registered with the US-EU Safe Harbor agreement, which helps ensure that the protection of PSU's data will comply with European Union standards for educational institutions.
  • OUS’s agreement with Google limits Google’s use of PSU’s data to the uses necessary for Google to provide the services required by PSU. Google may not scan or mine PSU’s data for advertising or other purposes. Google is contractually prohibited from serving advertisements in the PSU Google Apps for Education environment.

Privacy and Security of Google Apps for Education

Google has provided assurance that its policies regarding data center access and server access are appropriate and consistent with how PSU controls access to servers and data centers. Just like with PSU's current email environment, PSU OIT will be responsible for account setup and client support.

Although Google is contractually and legally obligated to protect PSU’s data and to adhere to at least industry standard systems and procedures regarding security and confidentiality, it is possible that Google will store data in server facilities located outside the United States. Any information or data that is subject to United States export control regulations should not be transmitted or stored using Google.

This is a good time to think about your email use. Whenever possible, you should avoid transmitting sensitive data in email. A good rule is “don’t put something in email that you wouldn’t put on a postcard.”

Please review the information you have in your current email and, where possible, remove the following:

  • FERPA protected information
  • Personal health information (PHI)
    • For more information, see "What Information is Protected" on this FAQ.
  • Personally identifiable information (PII) which requires protection under the Oregon Identity Theft Protection Act
    • For more information, see "What is personal identifying information?" on this FAQ.

Data Mining and Ad Placement

Google is contractually prohibited from serving advertisements in the PSU Google Apps for Education environment. The Google Apps for Education service at PSU is not the same as the public Google Apps offering. It is provided under a specific contract with the Oregon University System and managed by PSU OIT. OUS’s agreement with Google limits Google’s use of PSU’s data to the uses necessary for Google to provide the services required by PSU. In order to provide essential core features for PSU Email, Google will run fully automated scanning and indexing processes to offer improved spam filtering, virus detection, and email search, just as the University currently does for these same purposes.

OUS’s contract with Google prohibits Google from displaying advertisements in PSU Google Apps for Education environment. Therefore, Google may not scan or mine PSU’s data for advertising or other purposes. For more information about Google’s security policy, visit Security and Privacy in Google Apps for Education.