Economy

YouTube privacy claims to cost Google at least $150m

YouTube privacy claims to cost Google at least $150m”

A group of activists past year asked the FTC to look into the matter.

The FTC has been cracking down on firms that violate the 1998 Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). This practice affected tens of millions of children in the USA alone, the groups argued.

Politico reported that FTC commissioners voted 3-2 along party lines to approve the settlement, which will be reviewed by the Department of Justice. Word that a deal has been reached first emerged last month, but there were few details about what the agreement includes.

The YouTube Kids standalone website (www.youtubekids.com) arrives ahead of the official FTC settlement that could see YouTube being forced to ban children under age 13 from the platform. The advocacy groups that called for the YouTube investigation asked the FTC to do both in their complaint.

Senator Edward Markey of MA, who wrote COPPA, said the money isn't the incentive so much as ensuring companies don't get the jump on gathering data on children before they're old enough to consent.

U.S. regulators have argued Google fails to protect kids from harmful material and information collection on its own YouTube platform.

Bloomberg revealed last week that YouTube plans to end targeted advertisements on videos that kids are likely to watch in an apparent move that could satisfy regulators, but may affect ad sales of the video company.

Politico reported Friday that the settlement could total up to $200 million. One of the groups, the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, said that the reported settlement was "inadequate".

The amount is "woefully low, considering the egregious nature of the violation, how much Google profited from violating the law, and given Google's size and revenue", said Katharina Kopp, deputy director of the Center for Digital Democracy, which helped lead the complaint against YouTube. This would violate the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which limits how companies can scrape data from users younger than 13. There's ample evidence these young viewers flock to the site, however, and consumer groups complained a year ago that the presence of children means YouTube is collecting data on these kids to serve them ads in violation of COPPA.



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