Google will reportedly pay between $150 and $200 million to resolve a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation into YouTube regarding its potential violation of a children’s privacy law, according to a report.
A Politico report detailed that the agency voted 3-2 along party lines to settle with Google. The settlement will then go to the Department of Justice (DOJ) as part of its review process.
The FTC’s settlement with Google serves as the latest move against big tech. The agency fined Facebook $5 billion to resolve its probe over its Cambridge Analytica scandal, which violated millions of Americans’ privacy.
Privacy groups have complained to the consumer protection agency that YouTube violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by collecting personal information about children and using it to target them with ads without receiving their parents’ consent.
Google’s settlement with the FTC serves as the largest fine for COPPA violations. The agency previously fined Chinese social media company Musical.ly, now TikTok, $5.7 million in February.
Jeff Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, said that the agency should fine Google much more for its COPPA violations.
“I think the message here is that when the commission did have a privacy law to enforce, it refused to do so. The punishment should’ve been at least half a billion dollars,” Chester said. “It’s scandalous. It sends the signal that you in fact can break a privacy law and get away largely scot-free.”
Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), said that perhaps even more important than the fine is the terms the FTC might impose on Google regarding its collection of children’s information.
Rotenberg said, “The critical challenge for the FTC is whether it has the ability to restrain business practices that violate privacy. Imposing large fines does not address that problem.”