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The rows over children’s privacy on some of the biggest digital services continue to rumble.

YouTube was in the spotlight again at the end of last week, after a report by research firm Adalytics asked: ‘Are YouTube advertisers inadvertently harvesting data from millions of children?

It focuses on YouTube’s policies around ad targeting and tracking, including on videos that are “clearly labeled as ‘for kids'”.

“Some media buyers reported that, despite using several pre-cautions, it is very difficult to avoid having their ads served on channels for kids, short of using an inclusion list,” it claimed.

These are serious allegations: potential violations of the US COPPA legislation governing children’s privacy. Cue a letter to the chair of regulator the FTC from US senators Marsha Blackburn and Edward J. Markey citing the report, and urging it to “investigate and remedy any violations”.

speedy response-blog-post from YouTube called the report “deeply flawed and uninformed” and saying that it “failed to substantiate claims that we are in violation of government regulations, such as COPPA, or our own policies around ads personalization”.

YouTube also set out the privacy protection measures it has in place for children. What will the FTC make of all this? Stay tuned.

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