In a move that thrusts Google even more deeply into the ultra-sensitive privacy data terrain, the search engine giant is about to offer accounts for people younger than 13 years old.
Google’s position is that the move is pragmatic and is actually intended to allow for greater protections for those young surfers. That is based on the fact that children have been using Google services—usually anonymously or by claiming to be older—since Google launched and that these services would allow for a safer and more restricted child interface into the Google world.
“Google is trying to establish a new system that lets parents set up accounts for their kids, control how they use Google services and what information is collected about their offspring,” reported The Wall Street Journal. “Earlier this year, Google was developing a child version of its online video site YouTube suited to tablet computers that would let parents control content.”
The most specific legal challenge to offering direct accounts to children that young is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission.
“The company’s new effort is partly driven by the fact that some parents are already trying to sign their kids up to the company’s services. Google wants to make the process easier and compliant with the rules,” the Journal story said.