The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has said it will play an active role in shaping Google’s plans to stop websites from tracking Chrome users.
Under the proposals, the CMA would accept legally binding commitments from Google not to use its proposed replacements for tracking cookies, a set of technologies the search engine calls its Privacy Sandbox, in a way that would hurt competition. It is believed to be the first time that a competition regulator has been involved at such an early stage in the creation of new technology.
“The emergence of tech giants like Google has presented competition authorities around the world with new challenges that require a new approach,” said Andrea Coscelli, CEO of CMA. “That’s why the CMA is playing a leading role in defining how we can work with the most powerful technology companies to shape their behavior and protect competition for the benefit of consumers. “
As part of Google’s plans, first announced in January, the company would follow Apple in banning advertisers – including itself -om tracking internet browsing. Instead, he wants to use AI to profile individual people, grouping them with those with similar browsing habits in a way that preserves the ability of advertisers to target them with ads, without the need to invade their privacy.
That same month, the AMC announced an official investigation into the proposals. In response, Google offered the regulator an unusual deal: it would offer legally binding commitments to involve the regulator in the plans.
“We welcomed the opportunity to engage with a regulator with a mandate to promote competition for the benefit of consumers,” said Oliver Bethell, head of Google’s competition team in the EMEA region. “We propose a set of commitments –– the result of many hours of discussions with the CMA and more generally with the web community at large –– on how we will design and implement the Privacy Sandbox proposals and deal with them. user data in Google systems for years to come.
The commitments include a promise that Google’s own advertising products will have no advantage over other advertisers in accessing user data; that Chrome browsing histories will not be used to target advertisements; and that the CMA will be proactively informed of Google’s plans for the future, with a guaranteed break of at least 60 days before the company ultimately bans third-party cookies.