YouTube is facing more legal trouble for collecting underage user data in a new lawsuit. This time it’s a huge, 3 billion dollar class action suit in the U.K.
The lawsuit is being fronted by international law firm Hausfeld and technology justice nonprofit Foxglove. The duo is accusing YouTube of unlawfully collecting data from more than 5 million underage users. They’re pointing to the U.K. Data Protection Act, which clearly states children under 13 can’t consent to their data being collected online. It’s very similar to COPPA, which enforces practically the same protections for young minors in the U.S. According to TechCrunch, YouTube could owe millions of British households hundreds of dollars in damage. The suit is seeking about $3.2 billion in damages.
“The website has no user practical age requirements and makes no adequate attempt to limit usage by youngsters,” Hausfeld wrote in a press release.
YouTube’s response to the lawsuit
YouTube has commented on the UK lawsuit, but the comment didn’t offer much substance.
“We don’t comment on pending litigation,” YouTube told Techcrunch of the U.K. class action suit. “YouTube is not for children under the age of 13. We launched the YouTube Kids app as a dedicated destination for kids and are always working to better protect kids and families on YouTube.”
This U.K class action suit is similar to last year’s FTC lawsuit
Last year, YouTube found itself in a similar situation last year in the U.S. YouTube was forced to pay a $170 million fine to the Federal Trade Commission after it was accused of collecting data from underage users. The company’s actions were in direct violation of COPPA. However, it seemed that YouTube make sweeping change across its platform. The changes were made to better protect child privacy on the platform. One change YouTube made was to limit data collection on accounts that watched children’s content. YouTube also said it would stop running targeted ads on videos made for children. In turn hurt a lot of creators financially, which YouTube tried to ease by offering a $100 million kids’ content fund.
However, it appears that YouTube is still running into trouble around the world with collecting data from children even after these changes. We will have to see how the lawsuit pans out to see if YouTube will be held liable once again.