Organizations complain to American FTC that YouTube collects data from children

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A group of 23 organizations that focus on child protection and privacy, among other things, asks the American regulator FTC to take action against the violation of child protection legislation by YouTube.

In the online complaint the organizations, including The Center for Digital Democracy and privacy organization EPIC that Google violates the privacy rights of children with YouTube. For example, the company would have “made significant profits” by collecting and using personal data from children via the video service. The organizations speak of ‘tens of millions of American children’. This practice would be illegal because the US legislation, in particular the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or Coppa, limits this.
The organizations want the watchdog to forbid Google to commit further violations. Furthermore, they want the FTC to impose effective measures so that the search giant keeps to the rules. The argument is that YouTube is aware that children use its service. That would be apparent from the separate YouTube Kids app, which shows content for children. Children under the age of thirteen, whose parents, according to Coppa, must give permission if data is collected, would also use the main YouTube site. Google would collect and use information such as location, device data, and phone numbers for these children for targeted advertising. This would happen without the consent of the parents.
Google says in a reply to The New York Times that it has not yet received the complaint, but that ‘protecting children and parents always the highest priority is’ and that ‘it will read the complaint to see if things can be better’. It adds: “Because YouTube is not for children, we have made significant investments in the YouTube Kids app to offer an alternative especially for children.”
The complaint against YouTube follows earlier criticism of the platform and discussion about the use of personal data by online services as a result of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. According to recent rumors YouTube is working on a variant of YouTube Kids, in which the content is selected by hand.


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