What you need to know

  • The Federal Trade Commission has approved a multi-million dollar settlement with Google over YouTube's violation of federal data privacy laws
  • Specifics of the settlement, including the exact amount, are currently unclear.
  • Google is found to have breached the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

The Federal Trade Commission is said to have finalized a settlement with Google over violation of federal data privacy laws for children. According to The Washington Post, the settlement was backed by the agency's three Republicans and opposed by two Democrats. Google will now have to pay a multimillion-dollar fine, although the exact amount has not been confirmed.

As per the report, the settlement has found that Google improperly collected children's data, breaching the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which prohibits companies from tracking and targeting kids below the age of 13. It also alleges that Google and YouTube failed to take adequate measures to protect kids that used the video-streaming platform.

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US Sen. Ed Markey had expressed concerns over collections of data on children last month and asked the FTC to "hold YouTube accountable for any illegal activity affecting children that the company may have committed." A week before the U.S. senator wrote the letter to the FTC, a report published by The Washington Post claimed YouTube could be fined from a late-stage investigation by the FTC.

On the same day the report was published, a Wall Street Journal report claimed YouTube was considering some major changes to the way it handled children's videos. The report suggested YouTube would move all children's videos to the dedicated YouTube Kids app and also disable the autoplay feature.

Google is not the only technology giant that is facing probe from the FTC. As part of an agreement between the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice, the FTC will initiate antitrust investigations against Amazon and Facebook. On the other hand, the Department of Justice will launch antitrust investigations against Google and Apple. Earlier this month, the agency had approved a $5 billion fine against Facebook over the company's mishandling of users' personal information.

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