A report by The Washington Post suggests the FTC has found Google and YouTube to be in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which prohibits websites from collecting data on children under 13 years of age without the consent of their parents.
The investigation was the result of complaints to the agency going as far back as 2015, and the investigation was revealed to the public back in June due to reporting by The Washington Post. Now, it seems the agency has come to a settlement with Google.
The agency will be charging Google a multimillion-dollar fine, though the exact amount of the fine was not disclosed by The Washington Post's sources. The committee adjudicating on the matter was seemingly divided on the subject, with three Republicans in favour of the settlement and two Democrats opposed to it.
While the amount of the fine may not be much of an inconvenience for the tech giant with its billion-dollar revenues, it could potentially set a precedent that would lead the company into more legal trouble in the future. It could also be quite precarious for other tech companies, who may also find themselves in the FTC's crosshairs over the same concerns.
Perhaps in an attempt to avert any future legal action against it, Google has been in the process of making changes to its policies pertaining to kids' usage of its services for a while now. It has started disabling comments on videos featuring young kids and is also actively considering moving all kid-oriented videos from main YouTube app to the Kids app, which is designed for use by children.