Alphabet Inc.’s Google faces a multibillion-dollar lawsuit in the U.K. over claims that YouTube routinely breaks privacy laws by tracking children online.
The suit, filed on behalf of more than 5 million British children under 13 and their parents, is being brought by privacy campaigner Duncan McCann and being supported by Foxglove, a tech justice group. The claimants estimate that if they’re successful, there would be as much as 2.5 billion pounds ($3.2 billion) in compensation, worth between 100 to 500 pounds per child.
The filing alleges that YouTube’s methods of targeting underage audiences constitute “major breaches” of U.K. and European privacy and data rules designed to protect citizens’ control over their own private information. YouTube has “systematically broken these laws by harvesting children’s data without obtaining prior parental consent,” it alleges.
A spokesperson for YouTube declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday but added that the video streaming service isn’t designed for users 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,” the company said in an emailed statement.