Viacom and Google in dispute over privacy rights

Two important computer companies, Viacom and Google, are facing lawsuits that allege violation of children’s privacy. The lawsuits concern as well as, children’s websites with many videos available for viewing. The suits state that Viacom and Google used cookies to track children’s video selections and allege violations of the Video Privacy Protection Act as well as federal wiretap laws. The contract dispute cases were brought on behalf of users under the age of 13.

The lawsuits are all based on the use of tracking software, known as “cookies,” that can potentially identify users. In this case, Viacom is accused of using a specific software furnished by Google called DoubleClick. DoubleClick keeps records of the videos watched and delivers advertisements to users based on those choices.

These suits are the latest in a series of VPPA lawsuits based on the use of cookies to track and transmit data based on user input but are the first to deal solely with children under the age of 13. Although the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act already protects children from personal information collection practices, these lawsuits do not reference that regulation.

A business attorney represents clients when they are faced with lawsuits such as these or helps those business who may have suffered from the illegal or unfair use of online information to recover damages from a lawsuit. Business attorneys understand the complex legislation that governs online transactions and can give sound advice to business clients about best practices for doing business over the Internet.

Source: Online Media Daily, “Viacom, Google Sued For Violating Kids’ Privacy,” Wendy Davis, Dec. 24, 2012