Dec 13, 2021 - Technology

Google settles children's privacy suits brought by New Mexico

Google signage against a glass window.
Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Google has agreed to set up a privacy and online safety initiative for children in New Mexico, after being accused of violating U.S. law that governs children's privacy on the internet.

Driving the news: Google LLC and New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas announced a settlement Monday over allegations Google violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and New Mexico state consumer protection laws.

  • Two federal court cases New Mexico filed against Google are resolved by the settlement, Balderas' office announced.

The big picture: The settlement, which includes $3.8 million for the new initiative, is mostly a victory for Google, which wasn't found to have broken COPPA and now gets its name on a children's education and online safety project.

  • Google also notched a win last September when a U.S. district judge dismissed New Mexico's suit, which led to an appeal

What they're saying: "I’m pleased that we demanded Google put the safety of our school children first and that we’re able to partner with Google in our shared commitment to innovation and education," said Attorney General Balderas in a release.

  • “We are pleased to support programs and initiatives in New Mexico that promote kids’ education, privacy, and safety online," said Cynthia Pantazis, Google's director of government affairs and public policy.

Details: Google and attorney general Balderas will identify recipients of the initiative's funds. As part of the settlement, Google will also require apps on its Play Store to use age-screening tactics in order to avoid collecting information from children below age 13.

  • The settlement also requires Google to "increase parents' visibility into what information apps are collecting from their children," according to the release.
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