A privacy lawsuit filed by parents was overturned when the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia voted unanimously in favor of Google and Viacom. They decided that neither company had broken any laws when they had planted “cookies” on children’s computers. The internet cookies collect information which was then used to produce focused adverts. The Federal Judges confirmed that the The tech giants had the right to track online activity of children who visited their websites.
Jay Barnes, the attorney working on behalf of the parents in the class action suit, claimed that Google and Viacom’s actions violated the Video Privacy Act of 1988.
Circuit Court Judge Julio Fuentes indicated that it was his opinion that the law was only intended to stop the collection of data used to monitor people’s video-watching behavior, not an individual’s internet use.
“Some disclosures predicated on new technology, such as the dissemination of precise GPS coordinates or customer ID numbers, may suffice,” Fuentes wrote. “But others, including the kinds of disclosures described by the plaintiffs here, are simply too far afield from the circumstances that motivated the act’s passage to trigger liability.”
As to whether or not Viacom broke its word to parents not to collect or sell data to advertisers, Fuentes said a reasonable jury could rule the company’s liable if jurors found its alleged privacy intrusion to be “highly offensive to the ordinary reasonable man.”