What you need to know
- YouTube has been hit with a new lawsuit in the UK, which alleges that it violated children's privacy laws.
- The class action style lawsuit seeks damages of more than £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) from the Google-owned platform.
- Google paid a $170 million fine for YouTube's child privacy violations in the U.S. last year.
A class action style lawsuit has been filed against Google-owned video platform YouTube in the UK, alleging it of breaking children's privacy laws in the country and harvesting their data for advertisers. The representative action has been brought by law firm Hausfeld and Foxglove, a tech justice non-profit.
The lawsuit alleges that YouTube has violated the UK Data Protection Act and EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which protect children's privacy rights. It seeks more than £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) in damages for over 5 million British kids and their parents.
Duncan McCann, who is the representative claimant in the action, said in a statement:
My kids love YouTube, and I want them to be able to use it. But it isn't 'free' – we're paying for it with our private lives and our kids' mental health. I try to be relatively conscious of what's happening with my kids' data online, but even so it's just impossible to combat Google's lure and influence, which comes from its surveillance power. There's a massive power imbalance between us and them, and it needs to be fixed.
This is not the first time that YouTube has been accused of violating children's privacy. In September last year, the Federal Trade Commission fined Google $170 million for YouTube's violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
When asked for a response, a YouTube spokesperson told TechCrunch:
We don't comment on pending litigation. YouTube is not for children under the age of 13. We launched the YouTube Kids app as a dedicated destination for kids and are always working to better protect kids and families on YouTube.