Youtube Using Children’s Data for Targeting Advertisement

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Youtube Using Children’s Data for Targeting Advertisement
Short Title Youtube Using Children’s Viewing History and Online Behaviour for Targeting Advertisement
Location Global
Date 2019

Taxonomy Surveillance, Decisional Interference
Information Identifying, Computer Device, Behavioral, Contact
Threat Actors YouTube LLC, Google

Individuals
Affected Children using YouTube
High Risk Groups Minors
Secondary Consequences

In 2019 YouTube was accused of illegally collecting personal information from children without their parents’ consent.

Description

Google-owned YouTube is a video streaming platform with an advertisement based business model, meaning it uses algorithms to individualize ads for users, according to their content choices and online behavior.

In 2019 YouTube was accused by the Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General of illegally collecting personal information from children without their parents’ consent.

YouTube’s actions can be interpreted as Surveillance. The company collected children’s data — in the form of persistent identifiers that are used to track users across the Internet — without first notifying the parents or getting parents’ consent. The data was used to track and analyze individuals’ behavior as well as their online viewing history to tailor targeted ads for them.

Targeted advertisement can be seen as Decisional Interference, because a company acts as a creator of consequences (showing individuals ads based on analyzed personal data) to make people choose certain options. This is especially relevant in the case of children’s data because children are considered to not be able to properly evaluate the risks while consenting to their personal data processing.

YouTube was fined $170 million for violating Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) and forced to change their data processing policy. They stated, they would treat data from anyone watching children’s content on YouTube as coming from a child, regardless of the age of the user.

Risk Statistics

Laws and Regulations

Children's_Online_Privacy_Protection_Rule_(2000)

Sources

https://themarkup.org/ask-the-markup/2020/03/10/websites-tracking-kids-coppa
https://www.theverge.com/2019/9/4/20848949/google-ftc-youtube-child-privacy-violations-fine-170-milliion-coppa-ads
https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/cases/youtube complaint.pdf
https://variety.com/2019/digital/news/youtube-ftc-fine-170-million-coppa-kids-data-1203323004/