On Friday, news broke that Google reportedly has agreed to pay as much as $200 million to settle claims with the Federal Trade Commission that YouTube, its popular video platform, violated children’s privacy laws on a vast scale.
At the time, WIRED wrote: “The complaint claims that a significant portion of popular content on YouTube is designed for kids, whose personal information—including IP address, geolocation, and persistent identifiers used to track users across sites—is unlawfully collected by Google and then used to target ads.” Google’s settlement, which was first reported by Politico, would far exceed the record for children’s privacy violations set by TikTok’s $5.7 million fine earlier this year.
There’s growing bipartisan agreement in Washington that the two-decades-old law protecting children online needs updating for the smartphone era.
The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act was passed in 1998, the same year that Google was founded.
Since then, additional privacy legislation has stalled on Capitol Hill, in part because many Republicans have resisted using the power of the federal government to interfere in the business practices of major American firms.
(Democrats too were for years all too happy to let Silicon Valley look after itself.)