Minors Fighting Viacom, Google on Privacy12 Mar, 2014 By: Doug McPherson
NEWARK, N.J. – Lawyers for a group of children argued in court papers last week that a privacy lawsuit against Google and Viacom should move forward.
The attorneys allege Viacom and Google used cookies to share video-viewing histories of children and to track the contents of the Internet communications of millions of American children.
In January Google and Viacom argued the case shouldn't be allowed to proceed because the children didn't suffer any injury from the alleged use of tracking cookies on the sites Nick.com, NickJr.com and NeoPets.com.
But the attorneys say the two companies “miss the point” of the lawsuit. “The statutory and decisional foundation that otherwise enables the defendants to place cookies on user’s computers is consent. Here, defendants repeatedly ignore the fact that this is a class of children, who, as a matter of law, are incapable of providing consent,” they argue.
The lawsuit alleges the companies are violating the federal wiretap law, various New Jersey and California laws and a federal statute prohibiting video rental services from disclosing users' personally identifiable information without their written consent.
Viacom has said in papers that cookies in themselves don't tie information about the videos people watch with their “real-world names and addresses.”