The United States Government and Google have agreed that the technological giant will pay a multi-million dollar fine for failing to take appropriate measures to prevent minors from gaining access to inappropriate images and collecting their data, local media reported. The agreement, which had the support of the three Republican members and was rejected by the two Democrats of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), reflects that the Youtube video platform failed in its control mechanisms. violated the online protection laws of minors , according to The Washington Post.
The negotiations were carried out by the FTC, but the agreement has yet to be approved by the Justice Department, which usually limits itself to ratifying this type of agreement. At the moment the exact amount of the fine is unknown, but the Washington newspaper says it will be several million dollars.
YouTube collected the location, device identifiers and phone numbers
This lawsuit goes back to April last year, when a coalition of 23 child rights groups reported to the FTC that the technology giant collected personal information from children under 13 , including location, device identifiers and phone numbers, and tracked them without their consent. The lawsuit claimed that YouTube used this data to direct ads to minors through its platform and thus get economic performance.
Initially, the most famous Internet search engine defended itself against these accusations alleging that the YouTube platform is only for people over 13 years old, however the plaintiffs considered that, in reality, there are no control mechanisms to apply this policy and prevent the access of the youngest to the platform. In fact, Google even has an application dedicated exclusively to children called “YouTube Kids” (“YouTube Kids”) that launched in 2015 and is designed to show appropriate content and ads for children.
In this regard, a month ago, The Wall Street Journal said that the video platform is considering removing all children’s contents from its main portal and transfer them to that application in response to its controversial content management for children. The idea would be that all content starred by children or directed to this audience will be exclusively in the Youtube Kids application, which means that the firm owned by Alphabet (Google’s parent company) would try to avoid further confrontations with the FTC.