Senator Markey Statement on Reported FTC Settlement with Google over YouTube COPPA Violations


Boston (August 30, 2019) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, released the following statement after media stories reported that Google has agreed to pay between $150 million and $200 million to resolve a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation into YouTube over violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). 


“Once again, this FTC appears to have let a powerful company off the hook with a nominal fine for violating users’ privacy online,” said Senator Markey, House author of COPPA. “And in this case, intrusions on children’s personal information are at issue. I look forward to reviewing the requirements placed upon Google in this settlement, but I am disappointed that the Commission appears poised to once again come out with a partisan settlement that falls short of the Commission’s responsibility to consumers and risks normalizing corporate bad behavior. We owe it to kids to come down hard on companies that infringe on children’s’ privacy and violate federal law.”


In June, Senator Markey called on the FTC to include a series of new privacy safeguards that YouTube should implement as part of any potential consent decree stemming from a Commission investigation. These safeguards include deleting all data under Google’s control collected from children under 13 (even if that user is now 13 or older), instituting mechanisms to identify on an ongoing basis any YouTube users under 13, and prohibiting Google from launching any new child-directed product or service in the future until the product or service has been reviewed and approved by an independent panel of experts, including child development and privacy experts, to be appointed by the FTC.