Google pays record fine for YouTube’s violation of children’s privacy
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says Google, owned by Alphabet Inc, and its YouTube video service will pay $ 170 million to settle charges of violating federal personal information collection laws.
YouTube was accused of tracking viewers of children’s channels using cookies without parental consent to conduct targeted advertising campaigns with budgets of millions of dollars.
Settlement with the FTC and the New York Attorney General’s Office (the state will receive in the budget $ 34 million of the fine imposed) is the largest litigation since the 1998 US law prohibiting the collection of information about children under the age of 13. The law was revised in 2013 to take into account cookies that are used to track human behavior on the Internet..
Still, this is negligible compared to the revenues of Alphabet, 85% of which is generated by the sale of advertising space and technology. Her revenue in the second quarter was $ 38.9 billion..
YouTube has officially announced that after four months it will begin to process all data received from the audience that watches children’s content as if it was received directly from the child.. «This means that we will limit the collection and use of data in videos for children only to what is necessary to support the operation of the service.», – reported on the official YouTube blog.
In addition to the fine, the settlement will require the company to create a system for identifying content intended for children and notify channel owners of their obligation to obtain parental consent before collecting information about children..
FTC Chairman Joe Simons said these are important changes to YouTube’s business practices. «No other company in America operates under these rules and it will impose significant costs on YouTube.», – he told reporters.
FTC plans «review the YouTube platform to determine if child-friendly content remains», in which personal information is collected.
As a result, the FTC may take action against individual content creators or channel owners.
At the end of August, YouTube announced that it would launch YouTube Kids, segmenting children’s channels by age to eliminate obstructing videos, and will disable tracking behavioral ads..
YouTube allows companies to create channels that include advertisements that generate revenue for both the company and YouTube.
The US government accused YouTube of using its popularity with children to sell advertising air to companies such as Mattel and Hasbro. YouTube is the leader in reaching children under age 6 today–11 years among all media channels.
New York Attorney General Laetitia James believes that companies «abused their power».
«Google and YouTube deliberately and illegally tracked and served targeted ads to young children, just to work out ad budgets», – stated James.
«A financial settlement will not replace stringent reforms that keep Google and other tech companies from invading our privacy. I remain concerned about Big Tech policies and practices that invade children’s lives», – this is how Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal commented on the situation.