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YouTube accused of illegally collecting children’s data

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YouTube has been accused of illegally collecting children’s data by Consumer Rights groups who have filed a legal complaint against them.

The Google-owned video and music platform is supposed to be for persons aged 13 and older, yet studies indicate that it’s most popular with children aged between 8 and 12.

According to the concerns raised and the complaints filed, YouTube is illegally collecting the data without parental consent, and they know that they’re doing it; raising fear that they’re in breach of data protection legislation.

YouTube has a service for kids, with the main YouTube platform supposedly designed for children aged 13 or older, according to its terms of service. But, the consumer rights groups say that YouTube is fully aware that children aged younger than 13 are using its main platform.

A spokesperson from one of the consumer groups involved says:

“Google has acted duplicitously by falsely claiming in its terms of service that YouTube is only for those who are age 13 or older, while it deliberately lured young people into an ad-filled digital playground.”

It’s true that there are a lot of videos that are clearly aimed at younger audiences on the main YouTube platform, which raises questions as to why they are there in the first place. Google stands accused of making a “killing” from money generated by personally identifiable information for children who they know are using the main platform aged younger than 13. Device types, mobile numbers and browsing habits are reportedly collected, and it’s collected without parental consent.

Although this complaint is an American one, there may be cause for concern here in the UK also.

You can set parental protections in place on YouTube to ensure your child is browsing safe, and many of us know that iPads are somewhat of a lifesaver for parents on long car journeys to keep the kids occupied, and children do love to spend time on YouTube. A wealth of videos available are clearly designed for persons aged younger than 13, so the argument here is that Google is fully aware that their terms of service are being ignored.

Some believe that the minimum age requirement is nothing more than an easy get-out for Google to say that it’s out of their hands, but with data being collected on a platform where media is obviously suitable for children aged younger than 13, the question of ethics is being asked.

Image Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/pYoj2nyokOg

IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.

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First published by Author on April 25, 2018
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