YouTube Kids

The FTC and New York State reported that Google has agreed to pay a record $170 million penalty to settle accusations that YouTube broke the law when it knowingly tracked and sold ads targeted to children. 

In agreeing to pay this fine, Google is essentially admitting that YouTube collected user info from kids in violation of COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act).

From a privacy protection POV, this is a clerical error. I’ll go as far as to say that the FTC and the state of NY are missing the forest for the trees. When you click on the “clickwrap” privacy policy that allows you to get access to Google products (or any online product) you are agreeing to have your data mined, used, and abused by hundreds or, in some cases, thousands of companies you have never heard of. 

Protecting children is everyone’s job. But what, exactly, does this fine protect kids from? As far as I can tell, a little ad tracking. So now, instead of Google clearly knowing that a kid is watching its kids channel, they will have to guess that a kid is watching. Google will still know the IP address of the device and will also know whose account is logged in. Seriously? This is what happens when you look at a new paradigm through last century’s lens. This is not a kids privacy issue, it’s the tip of the data provenance iceberg.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

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