USA: Google fined $170 million for violating children's privacy law on Youtube

Author: Natasha Singer and Kate Conger, New York Times, Published on: 9 September 2019

Google agreed... to pay a record $170 million fine and make changes to protect children's privacy on YouTube... The penalty and changes were part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission and New York's attorney general, which had accused YouTube of violating the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act [COPPA]...[YouTube] agreed to create a system that asks video channel owners to identify the children's content they post so that targeted ads are not placed in such videos. YouTube must also obtain consent from parents before collecting or sharing personal details like a child's name or photos... "Merely requiring Google to follow the law, that's a meaningless sanction," said Jeffrey Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy... "It's the equivalent of a cop pulling somebody over for speeding at 110 miles an hour, and they get off with a warning."...[C]ommissioners, Joseph J. Simons, the agency's chairman, and Christine S. Wilson, said that the settlement "achieves a significant victory for the millions of parents whose children watch child-directed content on YouTube... [It] sends a strong message to children's content providers and to platforms about their obligation to comply with the COPPA rule."... YouTube said that not only had it agreed to stop placing targeted ads on children's videos, it would also stop gathering personal data about anyone who watched such videos, even if the company believed that the viewer was an adult. The company also said it would eliminate features on children's videos, like comments and notifications, that involved the use of personal data... The changes required under the agreement could limit how much video makers earn on the platform because while they still make money on some kinds of ads on children's videos, they no longer be able to profit from ads targeted at children.

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Related companies: Alphabet Google (part of Alphabet) YouTube (part of Alphabet)