YouTube hit with yet another lawsuit for violating children’s privacy in the UK

A lawsuit has been filed against YouTube for breaking the UK and European data protection laws. According to the allegations, the Google-owned entity is unlawfully targeting up to five million children, under the age of 13 with addictive content.

The UK and EU laws contain precise rules for protecting children’s data. It limits the age at which minors can legally consent their data being processed – that is over 13 years old. However, the lawsuit filed by international law firm Hausfeld and Foxglove states that YouTube is not abiding by the laws and harvesting data from minors for their advertisers.

They are seeking damages from YouTube for more than £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion USD).

Last month a similar case was filed against Oracle in the UK as well for violating Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The alleged breaches were related to cookie tracking.

Experts say that if the case succeeds, millions of British households whose kids are avid users of YouTube will be owed ‘hundreds of pounds’ in damages.

Duncan McCann, the representative claimant in this case commented that his kids love YouTube and he wants them to continue using it without compromising on their privacy. He further says that the YouTube website has no user practical age requirements. Moreover, the video streaming network does not make any attempts to limit the usage of youngsters.

When contacted for a comment, a spokesperson from YouTube refused to comment on the pending litigation. YouTube also said that their platform is not intended for children under the age of 13 and they have a dedicated platform for young children by the name of YouTube kid’s app that it launched in 2015.

Recently the UK has seen a surge in class action-style lawsuits in pursuit of damages for violating the data protection laws.

However, things are much diluted in the U.S. where tech giants often settle cases outside the court. For example, FTC settled with Google for $170 million to end an investigation between the regulators and the New York attorney general. The lawsuit was also related to YouTube collecting children’s private data without parental consent.

Back in 2012, Google also paid $22.5 million to the FTC in order to settle the same charges. Later they paid a small sum to settle a number of U.S. class action lawsuits.

But the trend continues in Europe where data protection laws are much robust than other areas of the world. The European court also allows seeking damages without the need to prove any loss or distress.


Photo: Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images

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