YouTube illegally collects data on children

Complaint filed with US watchdog urges sanctions for Google allegedly failing to comply with child protection laws around data collection and ads

According to koodakpress، A coalition of 23 child advocacy, consumer and privacy groups have filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission alleging that Google is violating child protection laws by collecting personal data of and advertising to those aged under 13.

The group, which includes the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), the Center for Digital Democracy and 21 other organisations, alleges that despite Google claiming that YouTube is only for those aged 13 and above, it knows that children under that age use the site. The group states that Google collects personal information on children under 13 such as location, device identifiers and phone numbers and tracks them across different websites and services without first gaining parental consent as required by the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (Coppa).

The coalition urges the FTC to investigate and sanction Google for its alleged violations.

“For years, Google has abdicated its responsibility to kids and families by disingenuously claiming YouTube — a site rife with popular cartoons, nursery rhymes, and toy ads — is not for children under 13,” said Josh Golin, executive director of the CCFC. “Google profits immensely by delivering ads to kids and must comply with Coppa. It’s time for the FTC to hold Google accountable for its illegal data collection and advertising practices.”

The group claims that YouTube is the most popular online platform for children in the US, used by about 80% of children aged six to 12 years old. Google has a dedicated app for children called YouTube Kids that was released in 2015 and is designed to show appropriate content and ads to children. It also recently took action to hire thousands of moderators to review content on the wider YouTube after widespread criticism that it allows violent and offensive content to flourish, including disturbing children’s content and child abuse videos.

But the coalition say this is not enough. Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy said: “Google has acted duplicitously by falsely claiming in its terms of service that YouTube is only for those who are age 13 or older, while it deliberately lured young people into an ad-filled digital playground.

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