YouTube fined in U.S over children’s privacy violation

YouTube has been fined a record $170m (£139m) by a US regulator for violating children’s privacy laws.

Google, which owns YouTube, agreed to pay the sum in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The video-streaming site had been accused of collecting data on children under 13, without parental consent.

The FTC said the data was used to target ads to the children, which contravened the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (Coppa).

“There’s no excuse for YouTube’s violations of the law,” said FTC chairman Joe Simons.

He added that when it came to complying with Coppa, Google had refused to acknowledge that parts of its main YouTube service were directed at children.

However, in presentations to business clients, the company is accused of painting a different picture.

For example, the FTC said the tech firm had told Mattel: “YouTube is today’s leader in reaching children age 6-11 against top TV channels.”

YouTube also regularly reviewed content for inclusion in its separate YouTube Kids app.

Google will have to pay $136m to the FTC – the largest ever fine in a Coppa case – and a further $34m to the state of New York.

However, one of the five FTC commissioners, Rohit Chopra, said in a statement that he thought the settlement did not go far enough.

He argued that Google had “baited” children on YouTube with videos featuring nursery rhymes and cartoons.

Source: BBC

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