Tech Trends

YouTube collecting children’s data, claims consumer groups

A complaint has been filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on YouTube, for allegedly collecting information of children under 13.

After Facebook’s recent data breach scandal, YouTube has been accused of inadequately collecting the personal data of young children. A complaint has been filed to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), where more than 20 advocates, consumer and privacy groups claimed that YouTube has been violating the US child protection laws by collecting personal data of users who are supposedly less than 13 years.

The group is demanding Google to change the process of managing content for younger audiences and apparently wants to sue YouTube for allegedly profiting off by children’s viewing habits.

 The coalition claims that Google stores personal information on kids, who are aged under 13. The stored data includes personal information such as phone numbers and location tracking, which can be accessed by their online activity amongst the websites they visit and targeting ads without parental consent. This is supposed to be a legal requirement according to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

“Google has acted duplicitously by falsely claiming in its terms of service that YouTube is only for those who are age 13 or older, while it deliberately lured young people into an ad-filled digital playground,” Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy, one of the leading advocacy groups in the coalition, said in a statement.

“Just like Facebook, Google has focused its huge resources on generating profits instead of protecting privacy,” he added.

However, YouTube defines its video platform is accessible for viewers aged 13 or above and has a YouTube Kids app for children below 13. The Kids app usually contains filtered set of videos by blocking inappropriate ads and content.

The group also argues that Google had “actual knowledge” of trafficking personal information of children under 13, which eventually violates COPPA laws. Google commented that it had not received any complaint as of now, but, says “protecting kids and families has always been a top priority.”

This violation of privacy comes right after Facebook’s data breach scandal, which has been in the news lately for allegedly collecting data of 87 million of its users.