Google Accused of Targeting Ads at Children and Violating Privacy Laws

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What to Know:

– A new report has accused Google of targeting ads at children and collecting their data, potentially violating federal privacy laws.
– The report, titled “Google’s Shadow Profile of Kids,” was published by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD).
– The report claims that Google collects personal information from children who use its products and services, such as YouTube, without obtaining parental consent.
– It also alleges that Google uses this data to target children with personalized ads, which is prohibited under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
– The report calls for an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and for Google to be held accountable for its alleged violations.

The Full Story:

A new report has raised concerns about Google’s practices regarding children’s data and targeted advertising. The report, titled “Google’s Shadow Profile of Kids,” was published by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD).

According to the report, Google collects personal information from children who use its products and services, such as YouTube, without obtaining parental consent. This data includes information like location, device identifiers, and browsing history. The report alleges that Google uses this data to target children with personalized ads, which is prohibited under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

COPPA requires companies to obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting personal information from children under the age of 13. The law also prohibits targeted advertising to children based on their personal information. If the allegations in the report are true, Google could be in violation of federal privacy laws.

The report argues that Google’s practices are particularly concerning because of the large number of children who use its products and services. It cites a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, which found that 81% of parents with children aged 11 or younger allow their children to watch videos on YouTube.

The report calls for an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) into Google’s practices and for the company to be held accountable for its alleged violations. It also recommends that the FTC update COPPA to address the challenges posed by digital advertising and data collection.

In response to the report, a Google spokesperson stated that the company is committed to protecting children’s privacy and complying with applicable laws. They emphasized that YouTube is not intended for children under the age of 13 and that the company has implemented measures to prevent underage users from accessing certain features.

This is not the first time Google has faced scrutiny over its handling of children’s data. In 2019, the company agreed to pay a $170 million settlement with the FTC and the New York Attorney General’s Office over allegations that YouTube had collected personal information from children without parental consent.

The report by CCFC and CDD adds to the ongoing debate about the need for stronger regulations to protect children’s privacy online. As children increasingly use digital platforms and services, it is crucial to ensure that their personal information is handled responsibly and that they are not subjected to targeted advertising.

In conclusion, the report accusing Google of targeting ads at children and collecting their data without parental consent raises concerns about potential violations of federal privacy laws. The allegations highlight the need for stronger regulations and enforcement to protect children’s privacy online. The report calls for an investigation by the FTC and for Google to be held accountable for its alleged violations. As the debate continues, it is important to prioritize the privacy and well-being of children in the digital age.

Original article: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/is-google-collecting-childrens-data-for-ads-new-report-sparks-concern/494218/