UK watchdog ties Alphabet to improved commitments for Privacy Sandbox

(Alliance News) - The UK Competition & Markets Authority on Friday said it has secured improved ...

Alliance News 26 November, 2021 | 9:38AM
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(Alliance News) - The UK Competition & Markets Authority on Friday said it has secured improved commitments from Alphabet Inc's Google on proposals to remove third-party cookies and other functions from its Chrome browser.

Back in June, the UK competition regulator had said it would take up a role in the design and development of Google's Privacy Sandbox proposals to ensure they do not distort competition.

The CMA "has been investigating Google's proposals since the start of the year due to concerns that, without the Competition & Markets Authority's involvement, Google's alternatives could be developed and implemented in ways that impede competition in digital advertising markets," it said on Friday.

"This may cause advertising spending to become even more concentrated on Google, harming consumers who ultimately pay for the cost of advertising. It may also undermine the ability of online publishers such as newspapers to generate revenue and continue to produce valuable content in the future, reducing choice for consumers."

The UK market regulator said its intervention is meant to improve privacy "without adversely affecting competition, which would be to the detriment of users".

CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said: "If accepted, the commitments we have obtained from Google become legally binding, promoting competition in digital markets, helping to protect the ability of online publishers to raise money through advertising and safeguarding users' privacy."

Included in the proposals, Google will report regularly to the CMA on how the search engine has taken account of third party views, which will see Google appointing a CMA-approved monitoring trustee.

Google also is being asked to clarify the internal limits on the data that it can use and improve the provisions on reporting and compliance, and delaying enforcement of its Privacy Budget proposal while offering commitments around the introduction of measures to reduce access to IP addresses.

By Paul McGowan; paulmcgowan@alliancenews.com

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