The FTC must hold Google accountable for failing to protect kids

Last week, the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal reported the FTC is planning to take action against YouTube as a result of CCFC and Center for Digital Democracy's multiple complaints against the video giant. But it'll take more than a fine of a few million dollars to change the ways of a multibillion dollar company – so we're asking the FTC to make sure that any action includes penalties and conditions that will actually deter Google from breaking the law and exploiting kids. Read our statements below: 

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“For years, the FTC’s failure to enforce COPPA has left children vulnerable to a host of manipulative data collection and marketing practices. No one has benefited more than YouTube, whose children’s media empire was built on a foundation of illegal data collection and targeted marketing. Every YouTube scandal involving children can be traced to its unethical and illegal business model. The FTC has an obligation to America’s families to put a stop to what it helped unleash.”
Josh Golin, Executive Director, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood

“Affording children space to explore without their every move being tracked is essential to their healthy development.  YouTube tracks all users on the pretext that the service is not intended for those under age 13.   But every parent knows, and studies show, that children spend a lot of time on YouTube.  The FTC must take action to stop YouTube's surveillance of children and to send the message that YouTube is not above the law.”
Prof. Angela Campbell, Director, Communications & Technology Clinic, Institute for Public Representation, Georgetown Law

“In its effort to help build an enormously lucrative business, Google has, for years, deliberately and cynically encouraged children to flock to YouTube -- even though the company knew it was violating federal law. The Federal Trade Commission must require reparations from Google that are proportionate to the extensive harms Google has inflicted on America’s children by its callousness in failing to protect their privacy.  The FTC should impose substantial financial penalties, as well as a set of rigorous safeguards that will reverse and correct the company’s longstanding irresponsible behavior. Not only must Google (Alphabet, Inc.) desist from engaging in further deceptive practices, but it must also pay back America’s children and their parents by supporting multiple new streams of commercial-free quality kids’ content. And the executives responsible for its failure to obey the law, including YouTube President Susan Wojcicki, should be held directly accountable.”
Jeff Chester, Executive Director, Center for Digital Democracy

Read our letter to the FTC in full here