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It is probably not a very pleasant morning at Google’s headquarters. The company will be paying a huge $170 Million to settle a case regarding the violation of children’s privacy laws. Google has already agreed to pay the amount to settle the case. As per the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the New York Attorney General, YouTube illegally collected personal information from the children without the consent of their parents.
Google Violated the COPPA
To settle the whole matter, Google will be paying $136 million to the FTC and $34 million to New York for violating COPPA – Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The FTC commissioners passed the judgment by a very narrow margin of 3-2. However, this is clearly the biggest amount FTC is going to get in a COPPA case since 1998.
Here is what FTC Chairman Joe Simons wrote after getting the majority of votes in his favor,
YouTube touted its popularity with children to prospective corporate clients. Yet when it came to complying with COPPA, the company refused to acknowledge that portions of its platform were clearly directed to kids. There’s no excuse for YouTube’s violations of the law
The New York Attorney General, Letitia James was also critical about YouTube and Google. Here is what she said,
Google and YouTube knowingly and illegally monitored, tracked, and served targeted ads to young children just to keep advertising dollars rolling in. These companies put children at risk and abused their power, which is why we are imposing major reforms to their practices
After the settlement, Google published a blog accepting their fault. In the blog, the company said that it will be taking measures to address the concerns. Google will completely stop serving personalized ads on content focused on children. They will also stop the collection of data from videos aimed at children. Moreover, they will completely disable all comments and notifications on those videos to keep children away from offensive remarks.