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Wednesday, July 17, 2024 | Back issues
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Mom Takes on|Google and Viacom

HOUSTON (CN) - Google and Viacom violate children's privacy by putting "cookies" on websites to track their Internet use and target them for ads, a mother claims in a federal class action.

Stephanie Fryar sued Viacom and Google on behalf of her two children, both of whom are younger than 13.

Viacom is one of the world's largest media conglomerates. Its holdings include MTV, Comedy Central, Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon. It operates the child-oriented websites nick.com, nickJr.com and neoPets.com.

Fryar claims her sons registered to use these websites and created profiles on them.

"Upon the plaintiffs' visits to www.nick.com, www.nickjr.com and www.neopets.com, defendant Viacom placed Internet 'cookies' on the plaintiffs' computers, which tracked their communications both to the website visited and other websites on the Internet," the complaint states.

"Upon the plaintiffs' visits to www.nick.com, www.nickjr.com and www.neopets.com, defendant Google placed Internet 'cookies' on the plaintiffs' computers, which tracked their communications both to the website visited and other websites on the Internet.

"Immediately upon the plaintiffs visitingwww.nick.com, www.nickjr.com and www.neopets.com, Google.com placed a doubleclick.net cookie named 'id' on plaintiffs' computer.

"Google Inc., through its relationship with Viacom, uses the 'id' cookie to track the electronic communications of the plaintiffs, including but not limited to websites visited by the plaintiffs.

"Additionally, Viacom knowingly permits Google to use the 'id' cookie to track video materials requested and obtained from www.nick.com and www.nickjr.com by the plaintiffs."

Fryar says Google then uses the cookies to keep records of her kids' Internet communications and use, videos they watch, and to show "targeted advertising to them based on their individualized web usage communications, and videos requested and obtained."

She seeks class damages for violations of the Wiretap Act and Video Privacy Protection Act, intrusion upon seclusion and unjust enrichment.

She is represented by Adam Voyles with Lubel Voyles in Houston.

Follow @cam_langford
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