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Google’s fine for illegally collecting kids’ YouTube data? A mere $170 million

In an insignificant blow to the company, Google agreed to pay a $170 million fine, or a 0.4% of its Q1 $39.3 billion revenue, to settle claims by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and New York Attorney General that YouTube knowingly and illegally harvesting personal information from children without their parents’ consent. Of this $170 million, $136 million will be paid to the FTC, and $34 million to the State of New York. New York Attorney General Letitia James said that these companies "put children at risk and abused their power". As per the FTC’s press release, this is “the largest amount the FTC has ever obtained in a COPPA [Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act] since Congress enacted the law in 1998”. It certainly dwarfs the $5.7 million TIkTok settlement, which was reached on similar grounds, but compare this to the $1.7 billion fine imposed by the European Union on Google in an anti-trust probe into the company thwarting advertising rivals. Numerous privacy advocates and lawmakers have criticised the terms of the settlement for being too paltry. This settlement is a result of FTC’s investigation into YouTube that the Commission launched in 2018 after receiving numerous complaints from consumer groups and privacy advocates, including Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and Center for Digital Democracy. YouTube collected personal data of kids without FTC and NY AG’s complaint against Google and Facebook, which echoes a number of allegations that complainants to FTC had made in 2018 and early 2019, alleged that: YouTube…

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