Google To Seek New Appeal In Children's Privacy Battle

Google will ask federal judges to reconsider a recent decision that revived a class-action privacy lawsuit brought by parents of young YouTube users, the company disclosed in papers filed this week.

The company said it will request a new hearing in front of the three judges who ruled against it, or, alternatively, before a majority of judges with the 9th Circuit court of appeals.

Google disclosed its plan on Wednesday, when it asked the 9th Circuit for additional time in which to seek a new hearing. The company's motion would typically be due by January 11, but Google sought a two-week extension, due to the holidays and the need to confer with other companies involved in the litigation.

On Thursday, the 9th Circuit granted the two-week extension, meaning that Google's request is now due by January 25.

Google's privacy battle with the parents dates to 2019, when California resident Nicole Hubbard sued YouTube and channel operators -- including Hasbro, the Cartoon Network, Mattel, and DreamWorks -- on behalf of her child. She alleged in a class-action complaint that her 5-year-old child watched YouTube channels that are aimed at young children.



Her complaint, later joined by other parents, came around two months after Google agreed to pay $170 million to settle allegations by the Federal Trade Commission and New York Attorney General that YouTube violated the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act by collecting data from viewers younger than 13.

Hubbard and the others alleged that the companies violated state laws by collecting tracking data from children. Among other claims, the parents said the alleged data collection amounted to “intrusion upon seclusion” -- a privacy claim that can be brought in California, and that involves “highly offensive” conduct.

U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman in the Northern District of California threw out the lawsuit, ruling that the gist of the claims stemmed from the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act -- which only allows the Federal Trade Commission and state officials to bring enforcement actions.

Late last year, the 9th Circuit reversed Freeman's decision, ruling that the federal privacy law doesn't prevent individuals from bringing “parallel” claims rooted in state law.

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