UK & Google Settle On Privacy Sandbox Commitments

The CMA has accepted a revised offer from Google of commitments relating to its proposed removal of third-party cookies from the Chrome browser, known as the Privacy Sandbox proposals.

The Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) competition investigation was launched in January 2021 over concerns that the proposals would cause online advertising spending to become even more concentrated on Google, weakening competition and so harming consumers who ultimately pay for the cost of online advertising.

The CMA was also concerned that Google’s proposals could undermine the ability of online publishers, such as newspapers, to generate revenue and continue to produce valuable content in the future – reducing the public’s choice of news sources.

Related: UK To Probe Google’s “Privacy Sandbox’” Changes

The final commitments accepted by the CMA today are a result of an in-depth investigation and extensive engagement with Google and market participants, including 2 formal public consultations.

They address the CMA’s competition concerns and Google has also said that the commitments will be rolled out globally.

The CMA is working closely with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to oversee the development of the proposals, so that they protect privacy without unduly restricting competition and harming consumers.

Google’s third party cookies currently play a fundamental role online and in digital advertising. They help businesses target advertising effectively and fund free online content for consumers, such as newspapers. But there have also been concerns about their legality and use from a privacy perspective, as they allow consumers’ behavior to be tracked across the web in ways that many consumers may feel uncomfortable with and may find difficult to understand.

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