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Google, YouTube must face US children's privacy lawsuit

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Google, YouTube must face US children's privacy lawsuit

A U.S. appeals court brought back a lawsuit that said Google and a few other companies broke the privacy of children under 13 by tracking what they did on YouTube without their parents' permission so they could send them ads that were more relevant to them.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle says that Congress did not mean for the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) to take the place of state privacy laws.

This statute gives the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general, but not private plaintiffs, the authority to regulate the online collection of personal information about children younger than 13 years old.

The lawsuit said that Google's data collection broke similar state laws and that YouTube content providers like Hasbro Inc., Mattel Inc., Cartoon Network, and DreamWorks Animation lured children to their channels knowing that they would be tracked.

In July 2021, U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman in San Francisco threw out the lawsuit because the plaintiffs' claims under the laws of California, Colorado, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Tennessee were not valid because of the federal privacy law.

Circuit Judge Margaret McKeown said in a ruling on Wednesday, though, that the wording of the federal law made it "ridiculous" to think that Congress wanted to stop plaintiffs from using state laws that target the same supposed wrongdoing.

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