UK competition regulator gets a say in Google's plan to remove browser cookies

4 days ago 15

The logo of Google Chrome shown connected a smartphone.

Thomas Trutschel | Photothek via Getty Images

LONDON — Britain's contention regulator volition person a accidental successful Google's program to region third-party browser cookies that way radical online.

The Competition and Markets Authority said Friday that it had secured commitments from Google to code concerns astir the proposal. The CMA is disquieted that the plans volition harm newspapers and different businesses that trust connected personalized ads.

Web cookies are tiny pieces of codification that websites present to a visitor's browser. They tin beryllium utilized to way online activity, specified arsenic items added to a buying basket. Third-party cookies are often added by advertisers to service radical with personalized ads.

Google plans to scrap third-party cookies connected its Chrome browser and regenerate them with an alternative. The institution launched an inaugural called "Privacy Sandbox" past year, successful a bid to code privateness concerns with cookies. The CMA launched a formal probe into the changes successful January.

Google committed to impact the CMA and the Information Commissioner's Office, the U.K.'s privateness watchdog, successful the improvement of its Privacy Sandbox proposals. The institution promised to publically disclose results of immoderate tests of the effectiveness of alternatives, and said it wouldn't springiness preferential attraction to Google's advertizing products oregon sites.

"If accepted, the commitments we person obtained from Google go legally binding, promoting contention successful integer markets, helping to support the quality of online publishers to rise wealth done advertizing and safeguarding users' privacy," Andrea Coscelli, main enforcement of the CMA, said successful a statement.

The CMA said it would consult with "interested 3rd parties" earlier deciding whether to judge Google's commitments. If accepted, the watchdog would driblet its enforcement lawsuit and prosecute with Google connected the details of its proposals.

"We admit the CMA's thoughtful attack passim the reappraisal and their engagement with the hard trade-offs that this process inevitably involves," Oliver Bethell, Google's manager of legal, said successful a blog post.

"We besides invited feedback from the nationalist consultation and volition proceed to prosecute with the CMA and with the manufacture connected this important topic" Bethell added. "We recognize that our plans volition beryllium scrutinized, truthful we'll besides proceed to prosecute with different regulators, manufacture partners and privateness experts arsenic well."

The determination is the latest motion of the CMA's growing role successful scrutinizing large U.S. tech firms — which are facing antitrust probes astir the satellite — aft Brexit. The watchdog has been tasked by the authorities with mounting up a caller Digital Markets Unit to constabulary contention successful the U.K.'s integer market.

Last week, the U.K. and European Union launched two abstracted contention probes into Facebook connected the aforesaid day. Meanwhile, Apple is besides facing antitrust investigations successful both Britain and Europe.