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Google to reportedly pay up to US$200m for violating child privacy laws

Google is paying up to US$200 million to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for violating child privacy laws, according to multiple media reports including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and US political journalism company Politico.

Earlier this year, Google was reported to have collected data from children who used its services which was a breach in US privacy laws. This led to YouTube ending targeted ads on videos watched by children, according to multiple media reports including Bloomberg. To better ensure child safety, YouTube said it will be addressing feedback about reducing the discoverability of inappropriate videos, as well as fine-tuning how ads are placed on channels. Google declined to comment on Marketing‘s queries.

Google was also fined US$22.5 million in 2012 for misrepresenting to users of Apple’s Safari Internet browser that it would not place tracking “cookies” or serve targeted ads to those users. FTC said such an act violated an earlier privacy settlement between it and the company. In addition to the civil penalty, the order also required Google to disable all the tracking cookies it had said it would not place on consumers’ computers.

The latest fine on Google tops those meted out to TikTok (US$5.7 million) and Facebook (US$5 million) this year by the FTC. TikTok was also fined for illegally collecting personal information from children, with the violations being committed by the defunct Musical.ly app. Separately, Facebook was handed a fine this July over privacy breaches and was informed that an independent privacy committee will be set up to remove the control of CEO Mark Zuckerberg from making user privacy decisions.

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(Photo courtesy: 123RF)

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