An open letter signed members of parliament of the United Kingdom, academics and children’s-rights advocates have urged tech firms to stop advertising to its users who are under the age of 18 years.
The letter says that it is not only n individual’s privacy that is undermined by behavioural advertising but it also pits “susceptible” youngsters against market pressure that is most often unfair.
The tech companies that were targeted in the letter were Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft.
In a separate development, accusations that Google-owned YouTube had been engaged in unlawfully mining personal data from five million users in the UK who were under the age of 13 year have been leveled.
The act of mining of data of young children is prohibited under the European data protection laws.
“The fact that ad-tech companies hold 72 million data points on a child by the time they turn 13 shows the extent of disregard for these laws, and the extraordinary surveillance to which children are subjected,” the letter reads. “There is no justification for targeting teenagers with personalised ads any more than there is for targeting 12-year-olds.
“You, the most powerful companies on the internet, have a responsibility to protect your users,” it said.
British MP Caroline Lucas and clinical psychologist Dr Elly Hanson were among the 23 signatories of the letter to the tech companies. Also named in the letter was Friends of the Earth.
Global Action Plan, coordinated the letter. The organization has for long argued that consumerism among children is accelerated by online advertising which results in putting unnecessary additional pressure on the planet to meet the demands of consumerism.
The letter urged all the tech companies involved to comment on the contents of the letter but all are yet to respond.
In yet another separate development, Google is being sued on behalf of five million British children by privacy advocate Duncan McCann. In the case the litigants gave claimed that that the company had broken privacy laws by tracking children online. It alleged that Google owned YouTube w sin breach of both UK and European data-protection laws.
The case s lodged in July with the UK High Court. It has been reported that the case will be strongly contested by YouTube and it will argue that its platform is not for children who are aged under below 13 years.
Those children below 13 years of age who are found to have had their data breached could be paid damages of between £100 and £500 by the company, believes McCann who has three children under that age.
(Adapted from BBC.com)