YouTube fined $170 million for violations of children’s privacy

US Youtube fined $170M for breaching kids' privacy

Google will pay $170 million to settle YouTube child privacy accusations

According to the FTC, Google and YouTube used these kid-focused channels to market to makers of toys.

Google's video platform YouTube has been fined $170 million, settling allegations that it gathered children's data online without the consent of their parents, in violation of federal law.

But younger kids commonly watch videos on YouTube, and many popular YouTube channels feature cartoons or sing-a-longs made for children.

In response, Google agreed to the record fine to resolve charges with the Federal Trade Commission and the attorney general of NY, which are set to announce their findings at a news conference in Washington.

Aside from the fine, the largest the FTC has obtained since the law was enacted, Google and YouTube are required to "develop, implement, and maintain a system that permits channel owners to identify their child-directed content on the YouTube platform so that YouTube can ensure it is complying with COPPA".

"YouTube touted its popularity with children to prospective corporate clients", said FTC Chairman Joe Simons in a statement. "Yet when it came to complying with (federal law banning collecting data on children), the company refused to acknowledge that portions of its platform were clearly directed to kids". In addition to the $170 million it has agreed to pay (the largest amount every paid to the FTC for COPPA violations), YouTube is also changing its data collection and ad targeting policies connected to children's content.

Ms Wojcicki said YouTube had taken "a hard look" at what it could do to address children watching videos without parental supervision.

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The FTC voted 3-2 to adopt the penalty, with Democratic commissioners Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Kelly Slaughter dissenting.

He said in his dissent that the settlement offered no individual accountability, insufficient remedies and a fine amount that "still allows the company to profit from its lawbreaking".

As part of the settlement, YouTube also agreed to work to train its software to detect content that is kid-oriented using a type of artificial intelligence known as machine learning, which learns to recognize regularly occurring patterns and identify them.

The company also does not treat channels or content explicitly aimed at children differently from other content for the purposes of advertising, the complaint says-that includes earning revenue from behavioral advertising, which relies on data collected from users.

Ms Wojcicki also said that the company will put in place measures to stop YouTube creators getting around the new rules.

A United States law known as COPPA, or the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, requires websites to get permission from parents before collecting information about children under the age of 13, including using technology which tracks their browsing habits in order to target them with advertising.

No more personalized ads on kid videos.

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Indeed, the fine will barely dent Google's finances.

The FTC settlement with Google marks the latest effort to probe and penalize tech giants for their privacy mishaps, a series of punishments that have served as a litmus test - even within the agency itself - about its power to police Silicon Valley.

NY will collect the remaining $34 million in penalties.

YouTube's had a rough year with kids.

The settlement now needs to be approved by a federal court in Washington.

Separately, the FTC fined video site Musical.ly, now called TikTok, $5.7 million earlier this year after finding it illegally collected personal information about kids.

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