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YouTube illegally collecting data on children: Protection groups

Gorkha Post

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KATHMANDU — Just days after Facebook data scandal, a coalition of 23 child advocacy,consumer and privacy groups have accused You Tube that the world’s largest video sharing site has been collecting data and that even of children.

The groups have filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission alleging that Google is violating child protection laws by collecting personal data of and advertising to those aged under 13, The Guardian reported.

The group, which includes the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), the Center for Digital Democracy and 21 other organisations, alleges that despite Google claiming that YouTube is only for those aged 13 and above, it knows that children under that age use the site.

The group states that Google collects personal information on children under 13 such as location, device identifiers and phone numbers and tracks them across different websites and services without first gaining parental consent as required by the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (Coppa), according to The Guardian.

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The group, in its complaint, has alleged that despite the search-engine giant claiming that the video-sharing website is only for those aged 13 and above, Google is aware that children below that age use the site.

According to the group, Google collects personal information in the form of location, device identifiers and phone numbers and uses it to track them across different websites and services without first obtaining parental consent as required by the Coppa.

“Google profits immensely by delivering ads to kids and must comply with Coppa (US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act). It’s time for the FTC to hold Google accountable for its illegal data collection and advertising practices,” The Guardian quoted Josh Golin, a member of the group, as saying.

In this regard, a YouTube spokesperson said: “While we haven’t received the complaint, protecting kids and families has always been a top priority for us. We will read the complaint thoroughly and evaluate if there are things we can do to improve.”

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NASA’s Parker spacecraft rockets toward sun for closest look

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CAPE CANAVERAL — NASA has launched a spacecraft to the sun which will fly closer to our star than anything ever sent before. The Parker Solar Probe rocketed away from Cape Canaveral, Florida, early Sunday.

The spacecraft is on an unprecedented quest that will take it straight through the wispy edges of the corona, or outer solar atmosphere, just 3.8 million (6 million kilometers) from the sun’s surface that was visible during last August’s total solar eclipse.

It will eventually stay comfortably cool despite the extreme heat and radiation allowing scientists to vicariously explore the sun in a way never before possible.

Saturday morning’s launch attempt was foiled by last-minute technical trouble and postponed by a day.

But what better day to launch to the sun than Sunday, as NASA noted.

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“Fly baby girl, fly!!” project scientist Nicola Fox of Johns Hopkins University tweeted just before lift-off. She urged it to “go touch the sun!”

“All I can say is, ‘Wow, here we go.’ We’re in for some learning over the next several years,” said Eugene Parker, the 91-year-old astrophysicist for whom the spacecraft is named.

It was the first time NASA named a spacecraft after someone still alive, and Parker wasn’t about to let it take off without him.

Thousands of spectators jammed the launch site in the middle of the night as well as surrounding towns, including Parker and his family.

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