Remembering to Keep Kid Data as Safe as the Actual Kid

YouTube to pay FTC fine in millions over kids’ data privacy breach

by: Alexander Lowe

Google has reportedly reached a multi million-dollar settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over alleged violations of children's data privacy laws on its content sharing app YouTube. It asks if the rule should be retained, eliminated, or modified; whether the 2013 revisions to the Rule have been effective in protecting children and giving meaningful parental control over the collection of children's personal information; and whether the revisions to the Rule have had any negative consequences, among other things.

A multi million dollar fine is likely chump change for a massive corporation like Google, and the FTC's officials were reportedly divided on the settlement: it was reportedly backed by the agency's three Republicans and opposed by its two Democrats.

They found that Google inadequately protected kids using the video-streaming service and improperly collected their data - a breach of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The next stage requires the Justice Department to agree to the undisclosed fine and any associated conditions, though the Department rarely goes against FTC rulings.

YouTube is considering more changes to how it handles content for kids, according to a different person familiar with the company's discussions.

The FTC has been getting child privacy complaints against YouTube for years, according to previous reports.

Google declined to comment, while the FTC didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last month, US Sen. Among those changes were an expanded definition of children's personal information, including persistent identifiers such as cookies that track a child's activity online unless used exclusively for internal operations, geo-location information, photos, videos, and audio recordings. YouTube has also considered disabling the platform's recommendation feature for children's programming, according to reports.

"It is incumbent upon the FTC to enforce federal law and act as a check against the ever-increasing appetite for children's data". They recommended all children's data be deleted, civil penalties, plus "a $100 million fund to be used to support the production of noncommercial, high-quality and diverse content for children".