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Google to face FTC probe for illegal collection of kid’s info by YouTube

Popular video-sharing site YouTube stands accused of collecting personal data of kids in violation of child protection laws. Towards this, a formal complaint has also been filed with the Federal Trade Commission by child advocacy groups, parental organization and others over Google’s attempt to portray even pre-teen as potential advertising targets.

Among the data that Google is alleged to collect about the kids include their location, device identification numbers and phone numbers without explicit permission from the parents. That information is then used to track the kids’ activities on different sites, thereby gaining vital info required for targeted advertising.

However, as the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and other groups that is seeking an FTC probe into the same claimed, Google is required to have the parent’s consent as per the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (Coppa). The Mountain View company, on its part, has been bucking the legal obligation claiming YouTube is only meant for children above the age of 13.

The group again charges the above Google stand saying how the search giant enjoys huge access to the kid’s world, an advantage that the company is also accused of using to the hilt. YouTube also happens to be a rich source of videos and cartoon meant for the young viewers. In fact, it perhaps is of common knowledge about the popularity of the site among children even as young as 6-year olds.

Responding to the latest development, Google said they are looking into it with all the seriousness it deserves. The company also promised remedial measures as deemed fit to take into account the groups concerns. Worth mentioning, it had recently hired human moderators in the wake of complaints of kids getting access to inappropriate content.

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Google had also launched the YouTube Kids app in 2015. As the name goes, the app specifically shows a cartoon or other content considered fit for kids. However, it is all too very well known how the kids continue hanging around with the main YouTube app. A recent research too has found YouTube to be the most sought-after app among 80 percent of kids between 6 to 12 year old.