According to the lawsuit, YouTube video providers like Hasbro Inc., Mattel Inc., the Cartoon Network, and DreamWorks Animation enticed kids to their channels knowing that they would be tracked by Google in violation of regulations comparable to those of the states where data gathering is concerned.
A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday reinstated a lawsuit accusing Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., and several other companies of violating the privacy of children under the age of 13 by keeping an eye on their YouTube activity without their parent’s consent and using that data to send them personalised advertisements.
According to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle, the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, was established by Congress but was not meant to override state legislation based on privacy issues.
The online collecting of personal information on children under the age of 13 is subject to regulation by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general, but not by individual litigants.
In the case, it was alleged that Hasbro Inc., Mattel Inc., Cartoon Network, and DreamWorks Animation lured children to their YouTube channels while knowing that doing so would violate similar state laws and that Google’s data collection did the same.
Federal privacy rules prohibited the plaintiffs’ claims under the laws of Tennessee, California, Colorado, Indiana, Massachusetts, and other states, according to U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman in San Francisco, who dismissed the case in July 2021.
But in the 3-0 judgement on Wednesday, Circuit Judge Margaret McKeown said that the phrasing of the federal law rendered it “nonsensical” to believe that Congress meant to prevent the plaintiffs from citing state laws that target the same alleged misbehaviour.
The matter was given back to Freeman so that he may take into account any additional defences Google and the content providers could have against it.
Google agreed to pay $170 million as part of the settlement in October 2019 in response to allegations from the FTC and New York Attorney General Letitia James that YouTube had inappropriately collected children’s personal information without their parent’s consent.
As stated by the plaintiffs in the San Francisco complaint, Google did not begin complying with COPPA obligations until January 2020.
They requested reimbursement for 16 and younger YouTube visitors between July 2013 and April 2020 in their case.
The case number is 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Case No. 21-16281: Jones et al v. Google LLC et al.