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Google to Pay a Fine of $170mn Over YouTube’s Child Privacy Violations

Facebook was fined $5 billion last month by the FTC after a year-long investigation into the company’s privacy violations following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal

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FILE - Signage is seen inside the YouTube Space LA offices in Los Angeles, California, Oct. 21, 2015. VOA

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Wednesday directed Google to pay a record $170 million over YouTube’s child privacy violations.

The settlement requires Google and YouTube to pay $136 million to the FTC and $34 million to New York for allegedly violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule.

The $170 million penalty is by far the largest amount the FTC has ever obtained in a COPPA case since Congress enacted the law in 1998.

In a complaint filed against the companies, the FTC and New York Attorney General allege that YouTube violated the COPPA Rule by collecting personal information – in the form of persistent identifiers that are used to track users across the Internet – from viewers of child-directed channels, without first notifying parents and getting their consent.

YouTube earned millions of dollars by using the identifiers, commonly known as cookies, to deliver targeted ads to viewers of these channels, according to the complaint.

“YouTube touted its popularity with children to prospective corporate clients,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons. “Yet when it came to complying with COPPA, the company refused to acknowledge that portions of its platform were clearly directed to kids. There’s no excuse for YouTube’s violations of the law.”

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FILE – Silhouettes are seen in front of a Youtube logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica, Oct. 29, 2014. VOA

In a blog post, YouTube said: “Starting in four months, we will treat data from anyone watching children’s content on YouTube as coming from a child, regardless of the age of the user.

“This means that we will limit data collection and use on videos made for kids only to what is needed to support the operation of the service.”

The COPPA Rule requires that child-directed websites and online services provide notice of their information practices and obtain parental consent prior to collecting personal information from children under 13.

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In the complaint, the FTC and New York Attorney General allege that while YouTube claimed to be a general-audience site, some of YouTube’s individual channels – such as those operated by toy companies – are child-directed and therefore must comply with COPPA.

Facebook was fined $5 billion last month by the FTC after a year-long investigation into the company’s privacy violations following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. (IANS)

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Wikipedia Crosses Milestone Of Having Over 6 Million Articles in English Language

Following the English edition, which hit the five million-mark in late 2015, are the German version with about 2.3 million articles, and the French version, which has about 2.1 million articles

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Wikipedia is available in several languages, but its English version has the most number of articles. Wikimedia Commons

The world’s largest online multilingual encyclopedia, Wikipedia, has now crossed the milestone of having more than six million articles in English language.

The feat, which comes roughly 19 years after the website was founded, is a testament of “what humans can do together,” said Ryan Merkley, chief of staff at Wikimedia, the nonprofit organisation that operates the omnipresent online encyclopedia, TechCrunch reported on Friday.

The six millionth article is about Maria Elise Turner Lauder, a 19th-century Canadian school teacher, travel writer and fiction writer.

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The world’s largest online multilingual encyclopedia, Wikipedia, has now crossed the milestone of having more than six million articles in English language. Pixabay

Wikipedia is available in several languages, but its English version has the most number of articles.

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Following the English edition, which hit the five million-mark in late 2015, are the German version with about 2.3 million articles, and the French version, which has about 2.1 million articles, the report added. (IANS)