Google is facing a lawsuit worth billions of pounds, which could end up forcing the US firm to hand out £500 each to more than five million people in the UK. Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc, is facing the lawsuit which accuses its video streaming service YouTube of routinely breaking privacy laws. The lawsuit was filed by privacy campaigner Duncan McCann and is being supported by tech justice group, Foxglove.
The lawsuit accuses YouTube of breaking privacy laws by harvesting the data of “millions of children” to target advertisement. If successful, the claimants estimate that the compensation would be as much as £2.5 billion. For context, Alphabet Inc reported revenues of $41.2billion in the first three months of this year.
If successful, the lawsuit could lead to individual payouts between £100 and £500, with the lawsuit being filed on behalf of more than five million children under 13 and their parents. The filing claims that there were “major breaches” of UK and European privacy and data laws which are “designed to protect citizens’ control over their own private information”.
It adds that YouTube “systematically broken these laws by harvesting children’s data without obtaining prior parental consent”.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, a YouTube spokesperson declined to comment about the litigation. But they did add: “YouTube is not for children under the age of 13. We launched the YouTube Kids app as a dedicated destination for kids and are always working to better protect kids and families on YouTube.”
While Foxglove said: “We think its unlawful because YouTube processes the data of every child who uses the service — including kids under 13.
“They profit from this data, as they are paid by advertisers to place targeted advertising on their YouTube website. They do all this without getting explicit consent from the children’s parents.”
The tech justice group added: “Foxglove are supporting a group claim against YouTube’s owner, Google. The claim has been brought by Duncan McCann, a British father of three. If Duncan’s case is successful, every child who has watched YouTube since 25 May 2018 in England and Wales may be entitled to compensation, along with their parents.
“And even more importantly, Google and other tech giants would be fed to change their behaviour in the future.”
The news comes after earlier this year a £4billion class action lawsuit was filed which could lead to individual payouts of up to £4,000. It was filed by lawyers who have accused Google of illegally gathering information during users’ private Incognito Mode browsing sessions.
Anyone who meets the criteria would be eligible for a slice of the multi-billion pound payout, provided the lawyers are successful. To be eligible, you’ll need to have used Incognito Mode since June 1 2016.
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