NEWS6 September 2019

FTC fines YouTube $170m for privacy violation

Legal News North America Privacy Youth

US – Google and its subsidiary YouTube have been ordered to pay $170m by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to settle allegations that it collected children’s personal information without parental consent.

Child on phone

The settlement requires Google and YouTube to pay $136 million to the FTC and $34 million to New York for allegedly violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (Coppa) Rule. The penalty is the largest the FTC has ever obtained in a Coppa case since Congress enacted the law in 1998.

The FTC and New York Attorney General allege that YouTube violated the Coppa Rule by collecting personal information – in the form of cookies used to track users on the internet– from viewers of child-directed channels, without first notifying parents and getting their consent. YouTube earned millions of dollars using cookies to deliver targeted ads to viewers of these channels, according to the complaint.

The Coppa Rule requires that child-directed websites and online services obtain parental consent prior to collecting personal information from children under 13, including the use of persistent identifiers to track a user’s internet browsing habits for targeted advertising. Ad networks are also subject to the rule where they know they are collecting personal information directly from users of child-directed websites and online services.

FTC chairman Joe Simons said: “YouTube touted its popularity with children to prospective corporate clients. Yet when it came to complying with Coppa, the company refused to acknowledge that portions of its platform were clearly directed to kids. There’s no excuse for YouTube’s violations of the law.”