Days after launching its YouTube Kids site, YouTube is settling with the Federal Trade Commission for illegally collecting personal information about children without their parents’ consent.
Google paid between $150 million and $200 million to settle the accusations, according to The Next Web.
The FTC started its investigation after several advocacy groups submitted a complaint to see whether the video-streaming site had violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
The Act makes sure that children’s rights are not violated online. According to the law, a website is liable to provide “a reasonable means for a parent to review the personal information collected from a child and to refuse to permit its further use or maintenance” and to secure that information.
According to Bloomberg, YouTube was taking steps to stop advertising targeting children at the same time the investigation was going on. The move explains why the company is moving YouTube Kids to its own site, as separating child-friendly videos off the main website would make it easier to avoid accidentally advertising on them.
However, critics argue that $200 million is a cheap price for the violation. The Center for Digital Democracy’s executive director Jeff Chester told Politico, “The punishment should’ve been at least half a billion dollars. It’s scandalous. It sends the signal that you in fact can break a privacy law and get away largely scot-free.”