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Youtube Businesses Privacy

YouTube Is Illegally Collecting Data From Children, Say Advocacy Groups (gizmodo.com) 69

Nearly two-dozen privacy and children's advocacy groups have filed a Federal Trade Commission complaint against YouTube, alleging the platform of illegally collecting data from children. From a report: The groups, led by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), allege YouTube is violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by collecting data from children under 13 without parents' permission.

"It's just fundamentally unfair," Josh Golin, executive director of the CCFC, told Gizmodo, "to use Google's powerful behavioral targeting on a child that doesn't yet understand what's going on." COPPA requires platforms "give parents notice of its data collection practices, and obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting the data." But, as Golin argues, YouTube violates COPPA because it doesn't differentiate between videos marketed to children and the rest of the site.

YouTube Is Illegally Collecting Data From Children, Say Advocacy Groups

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  • Busted (Score:5, Funny)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @03:12PM (#56407797) Journal

    I am 13. Judging from the fact that all the ads I ever see are for drug treatment centers and "learn to code" packages, I think Slashdot may be collecting my data.

    • I think those ads are just because you are using Slashdot.
      Because, rightly, if you are using Slashdot there must be something wrong with you.

      Oh.. I just hurt my feelings.

      • by sinij ( 911942 )
        I only ever get ads for cat litter, pizza delivery, and hand moisturizer like most /. readers would. So there is definitely something wrong with you.
    • Re: Busted (Score:2, Funny)

      by peragrin ( 659227 )

      Slashdot is to old to collect data on you. Heck slashdot can't allow utf-8 characters yet and those are older then you are.

      • by sinij ( 911942 )

        Slashdot is to old to collect data on you.

        I am counting at least 12 clear-cut trackers served by /. right now. They are definitely attempting to track you.

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      I am 13.

      You're 13 -- yet you have a six-digit user ID.
      To get an ID that low you would have had to join years ago, putting you in violation of Slashdot's TOS.

      I suspect it is much the same issue on YouTube. If they are collecting data on children those children are lying about their age. What's YouTube supposed to do here? Require positive ID from the user? That just sets up another creepy Facebook-like data collection problem.

      • Mental age...first post of his you've seen?

      • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
        My children's school uses Ipads, which have a child ID option. It requires you to have a different apple device with an adult apple ID or the school can use a special process to create child ID's.
        My school will not create ID's and I don't have apple devices so my only option is to create ID's for my children and say they are over 13. The school says I'm technically creating an ID for me and just letting my kids use my ID.

        I've gone through some pretty convoluted processes to try and work around this, but no
      • by mark-t ( 151149 )

        Slashdot terms of service matters aside, that user has been around since at least '06 [slashdot.org].

        For his dubious claim of being 13 to be true, the most obvious explanation would be that he either hacked or inherited the account from a previous owner.

        But bear in mind that just last week [slashdot.org], a person using the same user id was claiming to have been around since the 1990's

        The most likely explanations remaining at this point are that either he's lying about his age (rather poorly at that), or that the user ID is some

        • whooooooooooooosh!
          (there are 13 "o" in the word above, for some reason)

        • For his dubious claim of being 13 to be true

          Are you calling me an unreliable narrator?

          • He probably doesn't even believe you are really a pope
          • by mark-t ( 151149 )

            I'm suggesting that the only way for the claim about being 13 to be true is that it was was a lie (which I belieeve to be the most likely explanation), or that the PopeRatzo (965947) account is used by multiple people. There is precisely zero chance that a person who has been posting on slashdot since at least 2006 is actually 13.

            Take from that what you will.

            • by mark-t ( 151149 )
              blargh... hit submit instead of preview... I meant that the only way for the claim about being 13 to be true is that the claim about being alive in the 90's was a lie....
            • or that the PopeRatzo (965947) account is used by multiple people.

              Yes. We are the Nicolas Bourbaki of Slashdot commenters.

      • My 6 digit ID is at least 13 years old.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "It's just fundamentally unfair,"

    Google is a cunt, but life is not fair. If these parents have a problem, they should parent.

  • Ridiculous (Score:5, Informative)

    by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @03:21PM (#56407855)

    COPPA requires platforms "give parents notice of its data collection practices, and obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting the data."

    Naw it doesn't. COPPA only regulates collection, use, and/or disclosure of the personal information from and about children on the Internet.
    So collecting data that isn't the child's own personal info is not subject to COPPA or the FTC... Behavioral ad targetting may say things like "Your device/browser session 48592589239520 has recently visited Webpage14262362,Webpage211,Video30048960007,Video49623400057, and Video265352978917, therefore... we predict Advert123467 might be a good one to show. And that's NOT based on collecting any personal information."

    "It's just fundamentally unfair," Josh Golin, executive director of the CCFC, told Gizmodo, "to use Google's powerful behavioral targeting on a child that doesn't yet understand what's going on."

    I don't think even the average adult, including probably Josh Golin understand What's REALLY going on. Only Google knows exactly how they're targeting ads. There's no "fairness" deserved or necessary here --- they'll simply observe viewing patterns and use it to show the most effective ads.

    • by Calydor ( 739835 )

      You're assuming the guys at Google even understand how their algorithms work after approximately two decades of code tinkering.

      • I would imagine that most of what they're using these days is some kind of genetic neural network that uses user attachment or engagement as its fitness criteria. At this point, no one really has a clue why it does what it does outside of making broad interpretations based on the outcomes well after the fact.
  • Anecdote (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    My nephew watched 1 (one) toy review video on my youtube client.

    Next time I fired it up literally every single recommendation was for toy reviews, about 50% of them from a single channel.

    Months of TED talks, PBS space time and boring hour long lectures on late bronze age collapse had been obliterated in under 5 minutes.

    My conclusion is that Youtube knows which side their bread is buttered on, an it isn't the side of 30-somethings with disposable income and a penchant for impulse buying expensive gadgets.

    • Meh, that happens to me with any new topic I watch. Usually takes 2-3 videos for it to kick in and flood my recommended playlist though.
  • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @03:26PM (#56407895)

    The group isn't saying that YouTube is intentionally targeting children. The group is saying that like all videos, YouTube collects data and targets ads towards content regardless if the content is more geared towards children or adults. Unless YouTube screens every single video for content, it would be hard to know if a video is indeed for children. Some creators like The Disney Channel will definitely be creating content for children but for others it's not clear. The second part which is more nuanced is that YouTube requires a minimum age of 13 for the site, but that requires a user account to know whether the user is at least 13. Many people don't bother signing into accounts to use YouTube so YouTube will never know.

    YouTube requires users be at least 13 years old when joining the site, and makes clear its ad policies that it bars collecting data from children under 13. The CCFC complaint, however, notes that this age requirement only applies to users creating an account. Signed out, users of any age can watch videos (thus, potentially have their data collected) without any age check. As Golin tells Gizmodo, the FTC will ultimately decide whether to fine YouTube and, crucially, for how much.

    • Youtube is owned by Alphabet, just like Google and Doubleclick. They not only have the data from Youtube. With all the he other sites a person visits and not visits, they will know.

      If you advertise on tv to a show made for kids, you also will have adults watching. The false positives do not matter. That varbie ad on that kids show is directed at kids, not at daddy with a fetish for bimbos.

  • All this shiny, neato, star-struck internet-as-a-service shit finally caught up to the lot of people who now want to be presumably caught off guard and ass hurt because of data collection? Just stop all of this, from Facebook to Google and everyone else in between or at the frays.

    I agree with the majority of first posters on here (and a parent of myself): Be a parent, not the service/gadget doing your parenting. Most breathing-and-should-be-breeding assholes I see pushing out kids didn't have a problem c

  • I am shocked, shocked I say... that people didn't already know this.

    No, seriously... why is this at all surprising to anyone?

  • From what I've seen, it seems like at least half of all the 'content' on YouTube is "Look at me, look at meeeeeeeee!!!!!1!" sort of junk. Framing it like that, it's no wonder I've never spent more than maybe 20 minutes there in the last 10 years.
  • But, as Golin argues, YouTube violates COPPA because it doesn't differentiate between videos marketed to children and the rest of the site.

    This says that it is ok (doesn't violate COPPA) if YouTube collects data about children who watch videos marketed towards "not children". "X violates Y because Z" implies that "not Z" mean X does not violate Y. Causal effect.

    And that leaves the amazing question, how does YouTube know what age level a video submitter is targeting?

  • ...don't be evil. YouTube's motto: "meh."
  • by nut ( 19435 )
    Think Of The Children

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.

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