Bad news for Google. Google will pay $170 million to settle charges from the Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General that YouTube illegally collected data from kids who watch the video-streaming service. The company will pay $34 million to New York and $136 million to the FTC. The agency says that is the largest amount it has ever obtained in a Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act case since the law took effect in 1998. Not many have Google’s deep pockets after all.
The New York AG and the FTC accused Google and YouTube of collecting personal data from viewers of channels aimed at children under-13-year-olds without informing parents or getting their consent, including through the Kids app. YouTube allegedly made millions of dollars from using that data to show targeted ads to people watching the channels.
Officials said that Google told Mattel YouTube was “today’s leader in reaching children age 6-11 against top TV channels” and informed Hasbro it’s the top “website regularly visited by kids.” That seems like a pretty clear cut case.
“YouTube touted its popularity with children to prospective corporate clients,” FTC chairman Joe Simons said in a statement. “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.”
The bottom line is that Google has to pay.