back to article Google, YouTube cough up $170m to make that trifling little thing about slurping kids' info without consent go away

Google, fighting a desperate battle to provide privacy that's not so private it blinds targeted advertising, has agreed to provide actual privacy, but only to those watching videos aimed at children. On Wednesday, the US Federal Trade Commission said Google and its YouTube subsidiary will pay $170m to settle charges brought by …

  1. Mephistro Silver badge
    Angel

    It would be nice if...

    ... the USA had a law specifically aimed at companies acting as criminal organizations. They could call it the RICO Act or something similar...

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: It would be nice if...

      Apply that law to all forms of organisation, and the US can convict itself out of existence.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That is not a penalty, US law seems pretty ineffectual, the suits need to be put before a judge with REAL penalty powers and the case tried on its merits without some cosy deal being cooked up behind the scenes.

    As the scribe said in this item.. " A rounding error", its nowhere near a penalty for breaking a law when you consider the turnover of the company, a farce like this just encourages them to carry om as usual apparently content that they will occasionally have to lay out some small change to make an inconvenience go away.

    Pathetic.

  3. thosrtanner
    Childcatcher

    Four months?

    If it could make money for them they'd do it in 4 weeks. Or 4 days.

  4. mark l 2 Silver badge

    This sort of slap on the wrist fine reminds me of years ago when pubs could only be fined a maximum of £1000 for allowing under 18 to drink in there.

    Lots of pubs would just write it off as as a business expense as they new that they could make it back easily in a weekend by being lax with their ID checking. It was only when they got the threat of bigger fines and having their license took off them, that they took notice and clamped down.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Pint

      Trouble is, these days it's the bar staff that get fined and it's "up to the owner if they or the bar staff pay". so it's possible for an unscrupulous owner to push their staff into serving underage or drunk people*, and then force them to pay the fines when they get caught.

      * Yes, it's illegal to sell alcohol to drunk people, (or to buy booze for someone who is drunk). Unhelpfully there's no guidance on exactly how drunk that actually is.

  5. eldakka Silver badge

    The two companies will also be providing COPPA training for employees who interact with channel owners.

    Since it is notoriously hard to get into contact with a human at Google or any of its subsidiaries/units (e.g. Youtube), then I guess this means they don't have anyone who needs such training? Nice way to wriggle out of something.

    Google: "We'll implement this $5k per person training session for the employees who interact with channel owners."

    Courts/Regulator: (thinking bubble) Hmm, with the number of employees Google has, that's gonna cost them a lot of money alone, so we don't need to levy as big a fine.

    Courts/Regulator: "OK, we'll only levy a $170m fine then in this case because of the expenses incurred in that training"

    Google: (thinking bubble) Haha fools! There are no employees with that job description, it's all automated!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google claims none of the videos on YouTube are aimed at kids...

    Google might want to take a look at this:

    https://medium.com/@jamesbridle/something-is-wrong-on-the-internet-c39c471271d2

  7. DelM

    Coincidence?

    https://developers.googleblog.com/2019/09/enabling-developers-and-organizations.html

    Quote: "Whether you're a city planner, a small business owner, or a software developer, gaining useful insights from data can help make services work better and answer important questions. But, without strong privacy protections, you risk losing the trust of your citizens, customers, and users."

  8. Updraft102 Silver badge

    We will also stop serving personalized ads on this content entirely, and some features will no longer be available on this type of content, like comments and notifications."

    So channels that provide family content (which can be enjoyed by adults and kids-- it's not all one or the other!) will be depriving their adult viewers of these services, which will make these channels less popular, thus providing a pretty strong disincentive to claiming that your content is kid-friendly. If you make a living producing quality family-friendly content, this is going to be a kick in the teeth... and that's being done "for the kids."

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