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YouTube pays $170M for COPPA violations

Fine Amount: 
$170 million
Penalty Type: 
Issued by: 

The Federal Trade Commission reported that Google LLC and its subsidiary, YouTube, LLC have settled with the Commission and the State of New York, agreeing to pay them, respectively, $136 million and $34 million for allegedly violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule. The Commission's press release indicates the $136 million penalty it assessed is by far the largest amount the FTC has ever obtained in a COPPA case.

In their complaint against the companies, the FTC and the NY attorney general allege that YouTube violated the COPPA Rule by collecting personal information—in the form of persistent identifiers ("cookies") that are used to track users across the Internet—from viewers of child-directed channels, without first notifying parents and getting their consent. YouTube earned millions of dollars by using the identifiers to deliver targeted ads to viewers of these channels, according to the complaint.

In addition to [paying the monetary penalty, the proposed requires Google and YouTube to develop, implement, and maintain a system that permits channel owners to identify their child-directed content on the YouTube platform so that YouTube can ensure it is complying with COPPA. In addition, the companies must notify channel owners that their child-directed content may be subject to the COPPA Rule’s obligations and provide annual training about complying with COPPA for employees who deal with YouTube channel owners.

The settlement also prohibits Google and YouTube from violating the COPPA Rule, and requires them to provide notice about their data collection practices and obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting personal information from children.

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