Publicado: Mar, Abril 10, 2018
Ciencia | Por Aurelio Ontiveros

Child Protection Groups Claim YouTube Illegally Gathers Kids' Data

Google's violations are particularly egregious. Youtube's advertisement practices suggest that it does know that children are watching, but it should assure that the child is not exposed to data collection practices and doesn't land up on disturbing contents. Websites run for children must inform parents if they collect personal data, and must seek parental permission before tracking data about children.

In short: Despite the presence of literally millions of child-directed videos, and despite promising advertisers access to kids via YouTube ads, Google pretends that they aren't responsible for the children on YouTube.

The groups are not only looking for YouTube to stop, but to be hit with "substantial civil penalties". The allegations suggest that the video hosting site is data collecting on children under 13 which is against U.S. law. These visits may be conducted by children without signing up - which overcomes the age-gate account barrier - and therefore their data may be used for marketing purposes. If you are under 13 years of age, then please do not use the Service.

Amanda Chaon, a Senior Digital Media Strategist at Click Rain, says YouTube and other sites like it need to be more upfront about their policies involving personal information. Talk to your parents about what sites are appropriate for you.

"There is no reason to think that YouTube treats information collected from children any differently than that collected from other users", the complaint states, according to Mediapost.

The complaint filed with the FTC points to the fact that some of the most popular channels on YouTube are explicitely directed at children, including LittleBabyBum, with 14.6m subscribers and 14bn views, and ChuChuTV Nursery Rhymes & Kids Songs, which boasts 15.9m subscribers and over 10bn views.

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Among the figures presented in the case, YouTube is apparently home to 80 percent of American children aged between 6 and 12-years-old.

The program includes a "Parenting & Family Lineup" that has featured channels such as ChuChu TV, Fox's BabyTV and Seven Super Girls, whose topics include "fluffy unicorn slime". "Because YouTube is not for children, we've invested significantly in the creation of the YouTube Kids app to offer an alternative, specifically designed for children", a YouTube spokesperson told CNBC in an email.

YouTube stands to reap 45% of those ad revenues, earning an estimated $5 million from just one of its many kid-targeted channels, the complaint argues. If true, this would mean that Google has indeed violated the Coppa. It can fine offenders $41,484 per COPPA violation.

The groups say that Google doesn't even make an effort to try to comply with COPPA. With awareness and love comes usage.

"One of the fundamental challenges of COPPA is that it didn't contemplate a world in which there were a lot of kids, and parents, lying about [the child's] age in creating profiles", says Adam Thierer, senior fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. The frequency of YouTube engagement continues to rise.

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