FTC fines YouTube, but do fines really encourage change? | TECH(feed)

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Month-of-Making-youtube

Google was fined a record $170 million (Rs 1,221 crore) on Wednesday for illegally collecting personal information of children on YouTube and targeting them with advertisements, The New York Times reported.

The FTC hit yet another tech company with a seemingly massive fine for mishandling user data.

"YouTube touted its popularity with children to prospective corporate clients", The Guardian quoted Federal Trade Commission Chairperson Joe Simons as saying. COPPA, the strongest federal consumer privacy statute in the United States, gives the trade commission the authority to level fines of up to 42,530 dollars for each violation.

YouTube "baited kids with nursery rhymes, cartoons, and more to feed its massively profitable behavioural advertising business", Democratic Commissioner Rohit Chopra said in a tweet.

The federal government has increased scrutiny of big tech companies in the past two years - especially questioning how the tech giants collect and use personal information from their billions of customers.

Kids under 13 are protected by a 1998 US federal law that requires parental consent before companies can collect and share their personal information.

The defendants knew that the YouTube platform had numerous child-directed channels.

"The FTC's complaint details Google's mixed messages about who the site is geared for, and includes as evidence Google presentations made to toy companies Mattel and Hasbro, where YouTube is described as the "new Saturday morning cartoons" and the "#1 website regularly visited by kids". Regulators also said the that marketed themselves to advertisers as a top destination for young children and told some advertising firms that they did not have to comply with the children's privacy law because YouTube did not have viewers under 13. His company agreed to pay Sh17 billion fine for violating children's privacy on YouTube.

"We are changing how we treat data for children's content on YouTube", she added. The site says it requires parental consent and uses simple math problems to ensure that kids aren't signing in on their own.

In late August, YouTube announced it would launch YouTube Kids with separate niches for children depending on their ages and created to exclude disturbing videos. It also collects personally identifying device information. The company also launched a website version of the service in August. Google is relying on video creators to label such items, but will employ artificial intelligence to help. This means that we will limit data collection and use on videos made for kids only to what is needed to support the operation of the service. "We will also stop serving personalised ads on this content entirely, and some features will no longer be available on this type of content, like comments and notifications". But, those targeted ads also allowed kids content makers to earn money off the AVOD platform. But YouTube will still be the big way to build an audience, he said.

Sen. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, said the settlement won't turn YouTube into a safe place for children and "makes clear that this FTC stands for 'Forgetting Teens and Children"'.

A coalition of advocacy groups that previous year helped trigger the FTC's investigation, said in a joint statement Wednesday that the outcome will reduce the amount of behavioural advertising targeting children.

But he said the "paltry" fine signals that politically powerful corporations can break the law without serious consequences.

Other critics, including dissenting Democratic Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter, said too much responsibility was being placed on video creators to classify their own content as kid-oriented, and thus limited to less-lucrative ads.

"Google and YouTube knowingly and illegally monitored, tracked, and served targeted ads to young children just to keep advertising dollars rolling in", said New York Attorney General Letitia James.