YouTube Said to Be Fined Up to $200 Million Over Children’s Privacy Violations

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Google’s Alphabet will spend up to $200 million on settling an inquiry by the Federal Trade Commission into the supposed breach of a child privacy law by YouTube, a individual briefed Reuters on the issue.

The settlement is anticipated to range from $150 million to $200 million reported by Politico. The settlement is set to be announced next week and will be the biggest ever fine enforced by gathering private data from children without parental consent for breaking the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule.

Google has refused to comment.

As part of the review process, Reuters verified, quoting a individual familiar with the issue, the FTC voted 3-2 to approve the settlement and sent it to the Justice Department. The Washington Post recorded approval of the settlement in July but did not describe the civil penalty quantity in detail.

The settlement will far exceed the prior record set in February, a $5.7 million civil penalty imposed on Musical.ly, which for three years did not ask for users ‘ ages. Musical.ly’s internet library–now known as TikTok–features children’s popular music.

Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat, said Friday “the FTC appears to have let YouTube go off the hook with a nominal fine for violating the privacy of internet consumers. And in this situation, Google’s intrusion into the private information of children is at stake. We have to come down hard on businesses that violate the privacy of children.” The firm said it constructed the site “to generate a safer atmosphere for children to explore their interests and curiosity while providing parents with the instruments to customize their children’s experience.” Parents can choose age-appropriate material from three distinct age groups-pre-school, 5-7 and 8-12.

Katharina Kopp, deputy director of the Center for Digital Democracy, said Friday “a settlement quantity of $150-200 million would be appallingly small, given the egregious nature of the breach, how much Google has benefited from breaching the law, and given the size and income of Google.” She added the fine “would efficiently reward Google for participating in huge and illegal information collection.”

The center, joined by other organizations, lodged an FTC complaint in April 2018 alleging that YouTube benefited from children “without first notifying parents directly and acquiring their permission as needed by law. Google utilizes this data to target children’s advertisements on the internet and across devices.”

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