Consumer Advocacy Groups File Complaint vs. YouTube for Violating Children’s Online Privacy Law

Technology > Security

Three children happily using a laptop computer / Photo by: Luceila Ribeiro via Wikimedia Commons and Flickr


A coalition of nearly two dozen consumer advocacy groups is expected to file a complaint in the Federal Trade Commission, claiming that video sharing company YouTube is violating US laws designed to protect the privacy of children online. This was according to the New York Times.

The complaint claims that YouTube has been gathering and profiting from the personal data of kids using their site, despite the company saying that their platform is only intended for users who are 13 years old and above.  The consumer groups contend that YouTube did not comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, a law that imposes requirements on operators of online services to obtain consent from parents before they collect data on children under 13 years old. 

The coalition groups are also requesting the federal officials for an investigation and penalties, reported the NYT.

The advocacy groups are claiming that the Alphabet-owned site is able to collect information on children below 13 via its main site, where nursery-rhyme videos, cartoons, and popular toy-unboxing clips gain millions of views. They also raised their concern pertaining to YouTube’s policy which states that viewers are giving Google the permission to collect information connected to the user’s location, phone number, browsing habits, device, and more. The group says this method of tracking needs parental consent first if they should use it for tailored purposes, such as behavioral advertising.

The Federal Trade Commission said that they have not yet received the complaint but their enforcement takes COPPA “very seriously.” 

Meanwhile, YouTube said that they have not received the complaint but protecting families and kids have “always been a top priority” for the team.