On April 9, 2018, a coalition of over 20 public interest child advocacy groups including the Center for Digital Democracy and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission asking that the FTC begin a formal investigation of YouTube for significant violations of U.S. child privacy laws.

Citing COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act which requires express parental consent for data collection by all websites and apps aimed at children under 13, the complaint presents “overwhelming evidence that Google is violating COPPA by collecting personal data from children on YouTube without providing notice and obtaining prior verifiable parental consent.” The coalition requests investigation and legal enforcement against Google as owner of YouTube.

The complaint notes that YouTube’s privacy policy discloses it collects “many types of personal information, including geolocation, unique device identifiers, mobile telephone numbers, and persistent identifiers used to recognize a user over time and across different websites or online services.” It further indicates YouTube collects this information from children under the age of 13, and uses it to target advertisements, without giving notice or obtaining advanced, verifiable parental consent as required by COPPA.

The suit further seeks the imposition of effective means for monitoring compliance, and assess substantial and appropriate civil penalties against YouTube/Google.

Lieff Cabraser has filed a number of class action lawsuits on behalf of parents and children against companies including The Walt Disney Company and Viacom alleging similar violations of child privacy protection laws under the federal COPPA statute. The lawsuits seek to put an end to the improper access to and acquisition of private child data by app and game manufacturers. Lieff Cabraser is committed to helping parents protect their children, their privacy, and their children’s information.

Learn more about the COPPA class action child data protection lawsuits.

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