FTC YouTube Settlement Fails to Safeguard Children’s Privacy

September 4, 2019

Following a comprehensive complaint launched by the CCFC and the CDD concerning children's privacy, the Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement today with YouTube and parent company Google. The companies agreed to pay $170 million to settle claims that they violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, but little will change in the companies business model. Writing in dissent, Commissioner Slaughter said, "Youtube and Google were knowingly profiting off of the unlawful tracking of children." She said the Commission should have required a "technological backstop" to ensure that behavioral advertising of children would not continue. Commissioner Chopra, also dissenting, wrote "the Commission repeats many of the same mistakes from the Facebook settlement." In a statement, Senator Markey said the FTC should have required Google to delete all data it collected from children under 13, prohibit Google from launching kids service without prior review, and required annual public audits. EPIC joined the CCFC and the CDD in the complaint to the FTC. Earlier, after Google acquired YouTube, EPIC sued the FTC to block Google's proposed consolidation of user data. The judge ruled against EPIC, but wrote "EPIC – along with many other individuals and organizations – has advanced serious concerns that may well be legitimate…"

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