Google and Viacom win Nickelodeon web privacy lawsuit

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Google and Viacom have won a privacy lawsuit which accused the companies of violating privacy of children under 13 by secretly tracking the internet activities of those who visited Nickelodeon’s website.

Consumers accused Viacom of placing cookies or text files without user consent, in order to gather data on the videos and games kids streamed on Nickelodeon’s nick.com.

Viacom reportedly shared the gathered data with Google, and both the companies used the data to display tailored advertisements to the kids.

The lawsuit was made on behalf of young children who registered to use Nick.com.

US District Judge Stanley Chesler in Newark, New Jersey said there was not enough evidence to show Viacom had violated the Video Privacy Protection Act.

The plaintiff could not show that Google and Viacom were able to identify which child streamed specific videos or played specific video game.

Bloomberg cited an email from Viacom spokesman Jeremy Zweig as saying: "We are very pleased that the court ruled in our favor."

The issue was raised at a time when US president Barack Obama is going against companies that make money out of tracking intimate details of children’s lives.

In his State of the Union address, Obama addressed the issue and is expected to bring about laws to ban the sale of personal data collected in the classrooms.

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