Video streaming company YouTube is facing a suit for allegedly selling children users’ data to advertising firms, said the Daily Mail. The complaint asserts that the company violated EU and UK data privacy laws.
The lawsuit primarily tackles YouTube’s reported harvesting and selling of data owned by British kids under thirteen years old without their consent. The complaint, filed with the High Court by privacy advocate Duncan McCann, includes documents showing the said activity.
Upon confirming the filing of the case, McCann said, “We used to be worried about how children used the internet, the dangers of children being exposed to pornography or being groomed.”
McCann also emphasized that the internet “is using children” and that they are being treated as “products of the internet rather than products of their parents.”
The advocate argues that this practice by YouTube and Google has violated the United Kingdom’s Data Protection Act and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
Moreover, he asserts that this practice is wrong, especially as the companies allegedly gather info without parents’ consent, then sell the info to other companies such as toy manufacturers.
BBC said that the lawsuit will focus on children who used the service since May 2018, after the UK’s information protection law was passed.
According to McCann, the success of this lawsuit will result in Google paying £500 to each victim of the privacy violation. It is also expected to set precedent and would result in YouTube paying damages to 5 million British children.
As per the Daily Mail, parent company Google will be dealing with a £2.5 billion bill but it “will strongly dispute the claims against the firm.”
It asserts that YouTube’s service is not intended for children under 13 and that they should be using the YouTube Kids app. The Kids’ version of the app imposes more safeguards to protect children.
The company is anticipated to present a variety of policy changes it implemented in 2019, which were intended to notify parents about their children’s activity. The changes also intended to restrict data harvesting and personalized advertisements.
Regarding YouTube, BBC reported that it will not be making comments on the pending litigation. The platform also said that it does not sell user data to advertisers.
Campaign group Foxglove and law firm Hausfeld have expressed their support for the lawsuit. It is not expected to be litigated before next autumn.