Attorney General Hector Balderas Announces Landmark Settlements with Google Over Children’s Online Privacy

For Immediate Release: December 13, 2021
Contact: Jerri Mares  (505) 321-4372

Santa Fe, NM – Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas announced that his Consumer
& Environmental Protection Division has resolved two federal court cases filed against
Google LLC. Both cases concern allegations made by Balderas against the company
under the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, as well as under
state consumer protection laws.
The centerpiece of these settlements is the creation and funding of the Google New
Mexico Kids Initiative. The Initiative sets aside millions of dollars to fund efforts to promote
education, privacy, and safety for New Mexico children across the state. Google and
Attorney General Balderas will work together in the coming weeks to identify recipients of
these funds, which will be spent within New Mexico for the benefit of New Mexico’s
“There are incredible risks lurking online and we should do everything we can to protect
the privacy of children,” said Attorney General Balderas. “I’m pleased that we demanded
Google put the safety of our school children first and that we’re able to partner with Google
in our shared commitment to innovation and education, putting these funds where they
can do the most good.”
Within Google’s widely-used Workspace for Education products (formerly known as GSuite for Education), Google now provides school administrators with tools to protect
minor students from improper collection of their personal data, including age-based
access settings to ensure that minor children’s data is protected from unauthorized
collection and disclosure. New Mexico schools will also get early access to new products
and initiatives as part of the Google for Education Pilot Program.
In Google’s Play Store, Google will take a much more active role in policing app
developers that mislabel their child-directed apps in an effort to make more money from
targeted advertising and user profiling. Google will also enact a number of reforms,
including a requirement that apps implement age screening measures to ensure that
these apps do not collect information from children under the age of 13, and increasing
parents’ visibility into what information apps are collecting from their children.
“We are pleased to support programs and initiatives in New Mexico that promote kids’
education, privacy, and safety online. We look forward to working with the AG’s Office to
identify partners to help execute this shared goal.” – Cynthia Pantazis, Google’s Director
of Government Affairs and Public Policy.