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Google and YouTube to Pay $170 Million in Penalties Over Claims of Data Collection From Children

12:56 PM, Sep 4, 2019 — Alphabet’s (GOOG, GOOGL) Google and YouTube will pay a $170 million fine to settle claims by US regulators that the video-streaming and sharing site collected personal information from children without consent from their parents.

The companies are required to pay $136 million to the Federal Trade Commission in the largest amount it has ever obtained since the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, rule was enacted in 1998. Google and YouTube will also pay $34 million to the state of New York.

The FTC and the New York attorney general claim YouTube violated the COPPA rule by collecting persistent identifiers known as cookies to deliver targeted ads to channels that are directed toward children without notifying parents or getting their consent.

The rule “requires that child-directed websites and online services provide notice of their information practices and obtain parental consent prior to collecting personal information from children under 13,” the FTC said.

YouTube said that it’s making changes to its platform on how they deal with data from children’s content. In a blog posting Wednesday, the company said in about four months it will start treating data from anyone watching children’s content on YouTube as if they are a child, regardless of age.

“We will limit data collection and use on videos made for kids only to what is needed to support the operation of the service,” YouTube said.

Content creators will have to tell YouTube when they are making videos aimed at children, and machine learning will be used to identify those that “clearly target young audiences” like content with toys and games.

YouTube also said it will set up a $100 million fund spent over three years for the creation of “thoughtful, original” children’s content on YouTube and YouTube Kids, its child-focused app.

Companies: Alphabet Inc.

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