Google will spend $ 170 million to resolve allegations that its YouTube video service has collected personal data about children with...

YouTube will be fined $ 170 million for violating the Children's Privacy Act

Google will spend $ 170 million to resolve allegations that its YouTube video service has collected personal data about children without their parents' consent.

The company agreed to work with the video creators to mark the content for children and said it would limit the collection of data when users view such videos, regardless of age.

However, some lawmakers and child advocacy groups complained that the terms of the agreement were not strong enough to control a company whose parent company, Alphabet, had made a profit of $ 30.7 billion. last year's $ 136.8 billion in revenue, mostly from targeted ads.

Google will pay $ 136 million to the Federal Trade Commission and $ 34 million to New York State, which has conducted a similar investigation. The fine is the heaviest that the FTC has imposed on Google, but it is very small compared to the $ 5 billion fine imposed on Facebook this year for violation of privacy.

YouTube "has inspired kids with nursery rhymes, cartoons and more to fuel their highly profitable behavioral advertising business," Democratic Commissioner Rohit Chopra said in a tweet. "It was lucrative and it was illegal."

The federal government has reinforced the scrutiny of large technology companies over the past two years, including questions about how technology giants collect and use the personal information of their billions of customers. Many large companies in Silicon Valley are also subject to antitrust investigations to determine whether companies have illegally suppressed competition.

Children under the age of 13 are protected by a 1998 federal law requiring parental consent before companies can collect and share their personal information.

Technology companies generally avoid this by completely banning children under 13, although such bans rarely apply. In the long YouTube terms of use, children under the age of 13 are simply asked: "Please do not use the service."

However, many popular YouTube channels offer cartoons or children's songs. According to the FTC, YouTube has posted rankings to its video channels and even has a "Y" category aimed at children ages 7 and under, but YouTube has directed ads on these kids as adults.

The complaint filed by the FTC includes as evidence the presentations of Google describing YouTube toy companies Mattel and Hasbro, described as "new cartoons on Saturday morning" and "Web site No. 1 regularly visited by children".

"YouTube has promoted its popularity among kids to potential business customers," said Joe Simons, president of FTC. But when it came to complying with the law, he said, "The company refused to acknowledge that parts of its platform were clearly intended for children."

Under this agreement, Google and YouTube will obtain "verifiable" consent from parents before collecting or using children's personal information. The company has also agreed not to use data collected from children before.

YouTube has its own service for kids, YouTube Kids. Child-focused service already requires parental consent and uses simple mathematical problems to ensure that children do not register alone.

YouTube Kids does not target ads based on viewers' interests, unlike YouTube's main service. But the children's version contains information on what children watch for recommending videos. It also collects personally identifiable information from the device.

On Wednesday, Google announced that early next year, YouTube will also limit personalized ads on its main video service for children. Google relies on video creators to tag such elements, but will use artificial intelligence to help it.

However, YouTube will not ask for parental consent, even in children's videos. YouTube avoids this precaution by disabling any personal tracking of these videos, stating that it will collect only what is necessary for the proper functioning of the service. For these videos, YouTube will not feature tell features

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