Children are spending an alarming amount of occasion watching media on various screens and machines, but among other issues, Google-owned YouTube is emerging as one of the biggest threats to their well-being.
In fact, Google must pay a record $ 170 million to settle allegations by the Federal Trade Commission and the New York attorney general, which claim YouTube collected children’s personal information without parents’ consent. Broken down, Google will pay $136 million to the FTC and $34 million to New York.
The accusations include that YouTube violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act( COPPA) by applying continue identifiers, also known as cookies, which racetrack consumers, on child-directed YouTube channels without parents’ consent. 1 According to the FTC, YouTube deserved hundreds of thousands of dollars via the cookies by selling targeted ads.
FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in a news release, “YouTube touted its popularity with children to prospective corporate patrons. 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.”2 The penalty is the largest ever obtained by the FTC in a COPPA case.
A study by Ofcom, the U.K.’s communications regulator, likewise revealed that YouTube was the most popular platform among children. It was the go-to spot for children to find and watch content, “and the place they did so most frequently — many of them every day.”3
In one of “the worlds largest” ironic findings, children enjoyed watching people pursue hobbies on YouTube that they themselves did not do, or had recently given up. 4 They also enjoyed the ability to find whatever content they craved, whenever they wanted it.
“As YouTube responds to demand, it can offer a seemingly limitless alternative of content. YouTube offers everything they could possibly want, and then allows them to easily access more of what they like “the worlds largest”, ” the researchers explained5 — and herein lies part of the problem.
While collecting information, YouTube is able to tailor content immediately to your child, presenting an irresistible river of digital content that children have a hard time turning off. Like the space meat producers engineered potato chips to offer an addictive mix of salt, crunch and unhealthy flabs, YouTube has been set up to establish your kids crave it.
Autoplay and Other Tactics Keep Kids Glued to the Screen
Apps like YouTube collect data, such as the number of “likes, ” and use it to select content your children may be interested in. The content is then played automatically, one video after the other, making it difficult for children to look away.
Baroness Beeban Kidron, who is leading a campaign for children’s online privileges, told the New York Times, “The idea that it’s O.K. to nudge kids into endless behaviors, just because you are pushing their evolutionary buttons — it’s not a fair fight … It’s little Timmy in his bedroom versus Mark Zuckerberg in his Valley.”6
The personalization aspect is emerging as one of the keys pull children in. The Ofcom study revealed, in fact, that children were most attracted to content that they could opinion on their own device, exert peak choice over and that immediately fed them content of interest, i.e ., YouTube. 7 They explained how YouTube presents the perfect blizzard of personalization to capture kids :8
“The way content is presented on YouTube also attains for a very different platform experience. For example, videos on YouTube are recommended to individual consumers with one of the most personalised suffers on the internet. The content available on YouTube is also refreshed second by second by millions of users worldwide, dynamically responds to what is popular.
Organisations and individuals alike create and upload content with the sole aim of maximising panoramas, and therefore advertising revenues, constructing application of YouTube analytics to see exactly what is appealing to users and producing more content of that type.
As a result, the videos available on YouTube adapt rapidly in response to what users watch, stirring it easier and easier for people to find and detect content that appeals to them. In such research, we found that children could easily access exactly what they wanted to watch and were being be used with an endless creek of recommendations adapted precisely to their taste.”
Baroness Fights for Children’s Online Rights
Kidron began the 5Rights footing, which aims to protect children’s digital rights. Merely as children are afforded certain defences in the real world, Kidron believes they should be extended to the digital world.
At issue is those pop-up boxes that question users to click “accept” in order to access content, and in so doing surrender much personal privacy, along with so-called “nudge” techniques that encourage users to stay committed. 5Rights aware of the fact that the extremely design of these technologies is costing infants their childhood, one notification and “Like” at a time: 9
“Persuasive design strategies are the hooks and tricks that keep users online; auto-play, auto-suggestion, Likes, re-tweets , notifications, buzzes, pings, typing froths, Streaks…
Each on their own offer a small symbol of personal merit or fuzzy reward, together they supply a constant, damaging ecosystem of distraction, tournament and invasion that and with it an epidemic of anxiety, sleeplessness and negative impacts on health education family and social life.”
The Information Commissioner’s Office( ICO ), in its draft Age Appropriate Design Code, is considering 16 standards that would help to protect children’s online privacy. The Code, which was proposed by Kidron, calls on online services to automatically provide the following defences for children under 18:10
Automatically specified high privacy lays
Collect and retain only the minimum amount of personal data
Not share children’s data
Geolocation services should be switched off by default
Nudge techniques that are conducive to children to provide personal data, abated privacy decideds or keep using the app longer shall not be required to be be used
Tech giants aren’t happy with the Code, including defining a “child” as under 18 instead of 13 or 16. Further, protection of the rights are slated to affect all sites in Britain , not just those geared to children — another aspect the tech industry is fighting against.
According to The New York Times, “A children’s online privacy law in the United Country, by differ, applies only to nursery rhyme apps and other services directed at children under the age of 13. ”1 1
This, nonetheless, is part of the problem, as while YouTube and many social media platforms state they’re designed for consumers over 13, many children under this age tune into such websites daily. One Ofcom report received 46% of 11-year-olds and 51% of 12-year-olds have social media profiles, while 90% of 12- to 15 -year-olds use YouTube. 12
However, as part of the FTC settlement, Google and YouTube must make changes to help protect children under 13 years of age who are using their online services. According to the news release: 13
“In addition to the monetary penalty, the proposed settlement involves Google and YouTube to develop, implement, and maintain a system that lets canal owners to identify their child-directed content on the YouTube platform so that YouTube can ensure it is complying with COPPA.
In addition, the companies must notify channel proprietors that their child-directed content may be subject to the COPPA Rule’s obligations and offer annual training about complying with COPPA for employees who deal with YouTube channel owners.”
Spying on Your Kids in Schools
Google and its mother company, Alphabet, in addition to owning YouTube and Android, one of the most popular operating systems worldwide, are also infiltrating U.S. classrooms via Chromebooks and Google apps.
In 2012, less than 1% of the tablets and laptops used in the U.S. school system were Google Chromebooks. By 2015, 51% of the devices sold to K-1 2 academies were Chromebooks, 14 which come complete with a host of Google apps.
While Google has pledged to protect student privacy, the Electronic Frontier Foundation( EFF) found that the company is tracking students’ online habits and even utilizing it to create profiles and targeted ads. 15 What data is Google collecting about students? According to EFF: 16
“When students log in to Google, whether through Chromebooks or through GAFE, Google compiles a huge variety of personal data by default: pursuit record and which ensues students click on, videos they search for and watch on YouTube, usage data and predilections, Gmail messages, G+ profiles and photos, docs, and other Google-hosted content and content that flows through Google’s systems.
Additionally, if students use Chrome( the only browser is accessible on Chromebooks ), Google also accumulates the following particulars by default: browsing record, bookmarked URLs, passwords, website figure introductions, and which expansions are installed–and Google stores the information requirements in the gloom( rather than locally on the Chromebook itself ). ”
Google Is Listening at Home Too
If you use smart orators in your home, like Google Home smart orators or the Google Assistant smartphone app, there’s a chance people “re listening to” your petitions, and even may be listening when you wouldn’t expect. When you say “OK Google, ” the command to “wake up” the speakers or virtual deputy, the recording starts, according to an investigation by VRT NWS. 17
“Not everyone is aware of the fact that everything you say to your Google smart orators and your Google Assistant is being recorded and stored. But that is clearly stated in Google’s terms and conditions, ” VRT NWS reported, after a Google contractor dedicated them be made available to 1,000 voice registers. 18 Further, it employs people to listen to the recordings and transcribe them, so as to improve their algorithms.
Personal information, like address, names and companies, are often included, raising serious privacy concerns. As VRT NWS noted: 19
“Knowing that people who work for Google indirectly “re listening to” such recordings raises questions about privacy. So as to avoid excerpts being automatically linked to a customer, they are detached from the user’s information.
They delete the user name and supersede it with an anonymous serial number. But … it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recover someone’s identity; you simply have to listen carefully to what is being said.
What’s more, if they don’t know how it is written, these employees have to look up every term, address, personal name or corporation identify on Google or on Facebook. In that space, they are usually soon discover the identity of the person speaking.”
It’s not only Google’s smart loudspeakers that are recording queries, which are then reviewed by human employees. Apple’s Siri does too, and was accused of being activated by similar sound phrases to “hey Siri” and recording private times including discussions between medical doctors and patients, controversies, business deals, criminal bargains, sex encounters and more. 20
Out of the 1,000 Google transcriptions reviewed VRT NWS, 153 of them reportedly occurred when they shouldn’t have been and “the’ OK Google’ command was not clearly given.”2 1
Google’ Pausing’ Spy Technique While Under Investigation
In response to the investigation, Google announced that it had “paused” its human reviews of queries to Google smart loudspeakers, telling Ars Technica, “Shortly after we learned about the leaking of confidential Dutch audio data, we delayed language reviews of the Assistant to investigate. This delayed examines globally.”2 2
Google stated they would not be transcribing voice tapes starting August 1, 2019 and continuing for at least three months. They also stated that users can turn off audio data storage or choose to have it auto-deleted every three or 18 months.
This represents only a sliver of the assault to your privacy that occurs when you regularly use Google products online, or allow your children to do so, however. To be part of the solution, and help protect your privacy, I encourage you to take the following actions 😛 TAGEND
* Boycott Google by avoiding any and all Google products 😛 TAGEND
* Uninstall Google Chrome and use Brave or Opera browser instead, available for all computers and mobile machines. 25 From a security perspective, Opera is far superior to Chrome and offers a free VPN( virtual private network) service to further preserve your privacy
* If you have a Gmail account, try a non-Google email service such as ProtonMail, 26 an encrypted email service is available in Switzerland
* Stop applying Google docs. Digital Trend has published an clause recommending a number of alternatives2 7
* If you’re a high school student, do not convert the Google accounts you created as a student into personal accounts
* Sign the “Don’t be evil” petition are developed by Citizens Against Monopoly
Read more: articles.mercola.com