Google Inc (GOOG) Accused of Violating This Demo’s Privacy

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has a powerful advertising machine that collects billions of piece of data from every user of its websites and partner sites to develop not only general, but very specific demographic groups that can help advertisers reach very targeted audiences that can maximize an advertiser’s return on investment.

After all, if a company knows the type of customer it attracts, and it can find  those specific customers in a crowd and get a targeted ad in front of their eyeballs, then the company will more likely get better sales numbers than if it took a buckshot approach to advertising, just hoping that its type of customer just happens to see the ad. And while Internet surfers are getting very young and very impressionable, advertising could be very effective to the younger set in helping convince them to tall their parents about the next great product that will bre available for Christmas.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)Thanks to federal regulations, however, companies like Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) are prohibited from advertising to children under the age of 13. It seems, however, that a company’s ability to track a child via cookies as he or she browses the Internet is a bit of a legal gray area, and some parents are now seeking to get some clarification of the rules after they noticed that their kids had been tracked after they had registered profiles on some kid-oriented TV network websites.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB) are now set to face a class-action lawsuit in federal court in New Jersey brought on by parents of minor children, who claim that their kids’ privacy was violated when they signed up for profiles on one of several websites connected to the Nickelodeon family of cable networks, which Viacom owns. Once those profiles were established, the parents claimed, Google then had the information it needed to use cookies to track where the kids went on the Internet – which they claim violates the Internet Privacy (Wiretap) Act and the Video Privacy Protection Act.

The lawsuit is actually a conglomeration of class-action suits in six states, and a multi-district litigation panel of federal judges ruled this week that all six cases would be heard simultaneously in New Jersey, close to Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB) headquarters – though many of the class-action plaintiffs were shooting for the Northern District of California, close to where Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has its headquarters. The panel assigned the cases to  Judge Stanley Chesler in New Jersey, though no preliminary hearing date has been set. The original class-action was filed in Houston in December.