Google Gets A Slap On The Wrist For Collecting Children’s Data On YouTube And Making Money By Doing So

US regulators need to learn that the only way to alter the behavior of billion dollar companies is to serve up fines that hurt. A case in point is this report from the New York Times that has Google cutting a $170 million cheque to the FTC because it was caught collecting children’s data on YouTube and making money off that data:

Google on Wednesday agreed to pay a record $170 million fine and to make changes to protect children’s privacy on YouTube, as regulators said the video site had knowingly and illegally harvested personal information from youngsters and used that data to profit by targeting them with ads.

The measures were part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission and New York’s attorney general. They said YouTube had violated a federal children’s privacy law known as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA.

The fact is $170 million is a rounding error to a company that had revenues of almost $40 billion dollars last quarter. Meaning that this will do nothing to send a message that such behavior is unacceptable.  If the FTC and others really want to send that message, I would say fines have to be in the same range as the GDPR which really hurt companies who run afoul of it.

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