In an important recent development, the internet search giant Google has finally agreed to pay a fine amounting between $150 million and $200 million to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to finally settle the ongoing investigation in the case of an alleged infringement of children’s privacy by YouTube. According to sources, Google wants to resolve the issue and close this controversy by paying a penalty which according to many is quite low in comparison to the gravity of the privacy issue that the company faces.
Comment from John McAfee:
The FTC cracks down on Social Media over failures to stem "Extremism". But ….. If we ban extremism, we will be at the mercy of those who define and judge that term. What is extreme, today, becomes the norm of Tomorrow. Just how it works.https://t.co/6060z07P5H
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) September 2, 2019
Commenting on the development, John McAfee took to his Twitter and expressed his disappointment over the manner things have turned out. McAfee rationalized his position by suggesting that the concept of ‘extremism’ is a relative one and it is not a wise move to ban the so-called extremism of today’s time. Giving an argument in his favor, McAfee also questioned the logic of defining extremism and doubted the credibility of people or agencies defining the concept of extremism. He also contended that going by the breakneck speed of the things happening in the world today; it won’t be surprising that things which are considered extreme today might become a new norm in the future.
FTC and Google:
Just so you know, the FTC has agreed to close the case against Google with a majority of 3:2 and the agency has now communicated the matter to the Justice Department which will give its reviewing remarks on the decision, as per reports of sources close and privy with the developments. The settlement is a one in a series of measures the FTC has taken against the privacy infringement and in a similar case, social media giant Facebook paid a hefty fine of $5 billion just a couple of weeks ago to resolve pending inquiry against some of its data handling practices. The action against Google was first initiated on the complaint of some of the privacy groups which alleged that YouTube has infringed upon the privacy of children by collecting their personal data without taking consent from their parents or guardians.
Is penalty enough to deter infringement?
The monetary penalty imposed by FTC is one of the largest in the history of the regulatory agency, although some of the groups behind the complaint are not very happy with the decision. Being skeptical that the penalty is very meager and Google should have been penalized heavily in order to set a precedent for other organizations to strictly follow the rules when it comes to data privacy. Josh Golin, executive director of commercial-free childhood campaign, expressed his disappointment over the decision and said that the monetary penalty imposed by FTC is equivalent to advertisement revenue that YouTube earns in just two or three months. According to Golin, this is not going to deter organizations from exploiting privacy as they can get away easily without any heavy penalty. Similar views were expressed by Jeff Chester, who is the executive director of the Centre for Digital Democracy. Using strong words, Chester called the decision scandalous and opined that Google should have been fined 500 million dollars.