YouTube has found itself in a legal battle that could cost them £2.5 billion worth of claims over charges of privacy breach and data rights . This comes after privacy campaigner Duncan McCann lodged claims with the UK High Court against YouTube and its parent company Google accusing them of harvesting data from British children without parental consent.
McCann argues that the tech giant has violated the UK's Data Protection Act and the EU's General Data Protection Regulations as he also accuses the company of selling harvested data of minor aged users to advertising companies. His case which was lodged in July of this year, hones in on children under the age of 13 who have watched YouTube since May 2018, which was the time when the new Data Protection Act came about.
McCann, a father of three children under 13 strongly believes his case will merit a successful outcome with damages amounting to £100 up to £500 payable to all whose data was breached. He is aiming for damages that could add up to more than £2 billion to benefit five million British children along with their parents and guardians.
Speaking to the BBC, he said, "When the internet first emerged, we used to be worried about how children used the internet. That is still a problem, but now it's a two-way street. We need to focus on how the internet is using our children, and ask ourselves if we're comfortable with them becoming a product for these digital platforms?"
Google may just have every argument in place to dispute McCann's claims as YouTube's main platform is not intended for individuals below the age of 13. Those belonging to this age bracket should be using the YouTube Kids app where the platform has placed more safeguards for its intended users. The video app company has previously reiterated that it does not sell its user information to advertising companies.
A spokesperson from YouTube explains:
"We launched the YouTube Kids app as a dedicated destination for kids and have made further changes that allow us to better protect kids and families on YouTube."
"We don't comment on pending litigation. YouTube is not for children under the age of 13," they added.
According to McCann, the class action suit is the first in Europe lodged against a tech firm on behalf of children. The case is not expected to see another court date until next autumn,