Google fined by FTC for violating of kids' privacy through YouTube

Google agrees to pay up to $200 million to the FTC over allegedly violating children’s privacy

While companies typically fear the wrath of the EU when it comes to privacy violations, the Federal Trade Commission in the US is nothing to overlook either. With the FTC more or less declaring war on American corporations who they deem too big, companies may be frightful. FTC Chairman Joe Simons even said that the FTC may go as far as to break up companies that are the results of previously approved mergers. Facebook only recently settled a $5 billion fine with the FTC, though it allowed the company to not admit guilt and to avoid personal sanctions on any of its executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Google is next to fall victim to the FTC, settling for $200 million over allegations of violating children’s privacy.

While the details are scarce, multiple independent reports from the likes of Politico, The Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg have corroborated most of the important details. The fined amount as part of the settlement is somewhere between $150 million and $200 million with details in full to be made available next week. The company was charged for the collection of data of children and the targeting of advertisements as well, both of which are in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

While it may be seen as a large fine, consumer rights protection groups aren’t happy. “Once again, this F.T.C. appears to have let a powerful company off the hook with a nominal fine for violating users’ privacy online,” Senator Edward Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, said in a statement on Friday. Public Citizen, a non-profit consumer advocacy group in the US, is also unhappy.

Under COPPA, the children’s privacy law, the FTC had authority to impose tens of billions in fines against Google for YouTube’s improper corporate surveillance of children, targeted advertising to kids and failure to alert parents what it was up to. In light of the company’s enormous wealth and allegedly egregious violations of COPPA – likely involving improper collection of information on tens of millions of children – a penalty of no more than $200 million utterly fails to protect children’s rights. It neither punishes Google adequately nor deters Google or other companies from future violations.

It is currently unknown if Google will also face similar allegations within the EU or in other regions.

Source: Public Citizen

Via: The Verge

An Irish technology fanatic with a BSc in Computer Science. Lover of smartphones, cybersecurity, and Counter-Strike. You can contact me at adam.conway@irishtech.ie.
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