YouTube accused of harvesting children’s data
The UK’s Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has received a complaint that YouTube is gathering data about the videos children watch. The complaint filed by Duncan McCann, a campaigner with the advocacy group 5rights Foundation, is the first one of its kind after ICO children's code was introduced in 2020.
The information regulator has said that it would look into the complaint that YouTube is illegally collecting data from millions of children.
The complaint accuses YouTube of breaking the newly adopted code by amassing details like the location, viewing habits, and preferences of almost 5 million children.
“Imagine YouTube as an adult stranger following your child ‘online’ with a virtual clipboard recording everything they do. That is what is happening every day and they are not just doing it with your child. They are doing it with up to 5 million other UK children as well, resulting in an enormous amount of personal information being gathered,” ” McCann said in a statement.
“Never mind it being against the law, it is a massive, unlicensed, social experiment on our children with uncertain consequences. YouTube should change the design of their platform and delete the data they have been gathering unlawfully from under-13s,” said McCann, a father of three .
Beeban Kidron, the founder of 5Rights, said in support of the complaint: “Data law is not a pick and mix of what elements companies want to adhere to, it is a holistic approach that requires companies to offer children the highest degree of data privacy and in doing so lessen their exposure to harmful experiences and exploitation online.”
The ICO confirmed that it has got the complaint and will carefully consider it.
YouTube said in a statement: “We remain committed to continuing our engagement with the ICO on this priority work, and with other key stakeholders including children, parents and child protection experts.”