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Complaint to FTC Alleges YouTube Violates Child Online Privacy Protection Act

Category: General News
Posted: 10:27AM

One of the amazing aspects of the Internet is how so much information and content are available to people, but it is also a potentially dangerous aspect. A complaint has been filed with the Federal Trade Commission claiming YouTube violates the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) which is limits how a company collects data on persons under 13 years old, including requiring parental consent. As such data collection is used by YouTube, and other websites, to sell and target advertising, this could potentially mean the company has been profiting off of this information too.

According to YouTube's terms of service, it is not for those under the age of 13, and indeed to have an account you must say you are older than that. While that is what the TOS says and the accounts require, videos can be viewed freely without an account, it is possible to use someone else's account, and kids could lie when creating the account.

The complaint claims YouTube collected data over the source of years on 23 million children. If the FTC does find the company in violation of COPPA, it could fine YouTube up to $41,484 per violation, which very rapidly adds up into billions. It is also possible the FTC could require YouTube age gate its videos, but as an employee of one of the signers of the complaints points out, kids could just lie to get through the gate anyway. The preference would be to find a way for YouTube to still have content for kids but also find a means to comply with COPPA, and with the FTC reviewing the complaint, it may play a role in deciding what happens next.

Source: CNN Money

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