Google’s Class Action Lawsuit Over Children’s Privacy Dismissed
Google is not required to confront a class-action lawsuit brought by parents alleging that Google and YouTube Kids collected children’s data to target them with advertisements, but a judge has ruled that 30 days could change that.
Nichole Hubbard et al. v. Google LLC et al.
For the second time, California federal Judge Beth L. Freeman ruled that a class action alleging Google acquired children’s personal data illegally could not proceed.
According to reports, she decided that the alleged violation is already covered by the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The only remedy available is enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
In addition, Freeman states that concerning the plaintiffs in this case — all children under the age of 13 — the Court finds that the alleged behavior is properly covered and prevented by COPPA and its exclusive remedy structure, which places enforcement authority in the FTC and state attorneys general.
The parents, who represent their children, sued Google under state privacy laws, but the judge said that their claims did not exceed those covered by COPPA.
They alleged that Google LLC, YouTube — its subsidiary —, and numerous other corporations and YouTube channels violated state privacy rules by gathering personal information from children under the age of 13 to establish individual profiles that made them easier to target with advertisements.
Plaintiffs’ attempt to evade the system through state law liability is prohibited because it is inconsistent with the treatment.
Despite dismissing the claims in their current form, Freeman stated that the parents might have a legal claim if they identified plaintiffs in the 13 to 16 age bracket, which is not covered by COPPA. In addition, she stated that the plaintiffs have 30 days to file an updated complaint.
The class action was initially filed in October 2019, less than a month after Google and YouTube agreed to a $170 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission and New York’s attorney general about illegal child data harvesting.
The announcement comes as lawmakers look into Google’s business practices in relation to YouTube Kids. In April, federal lawmakers initiated an investigation on YouTube Kids, alleging that children are being bombarded with unhealthy or non-educational content and advertisements.
The House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy is currently investigating possible exploitative advertising practices at YouTube Kids.
One lawmaker claims that the company has not done enough to safeguard children from people attempting to sell them products online through an endless stream of auto-play videos.
Editor’s Note on Google & YouTube Kids Children’s Privacy Class Action Lawsuit’s Updates:
This article is written to inform you of Google’s class-action lawsuit over children’s data harvesting.
Case Name & No.: Nichole Hubbard et al. v. Google LLC et al., Case No. 5:19-cv-07016
Jurisdiction: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
Products/Services: Children’s private data
Allegations: Google allegedly illegally harvests children’s personal data and exploits it
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