May 26, 2022

Google has agreed to give the UK competition watchdog a final say on its privacy sandbox proposal before blocking third-party cookies.

The tech giant also promised to expand its dialogue with publishers and follow “reasonable feedback and suggestions”.

At the same time, European publishers have revolted, accusing Google of trapping them in the “Ad Tech Struggleld”.

The Competition and Markets Authority said Friday it has received legally binding commitments from Google to address competition concerns over its privacy sandbox plan to introduce an alternative to third-party cookies that Better for user privacy.

The CMA launched an investigation into the privacy sandbox in January last year because it feared that Google’s proposals could undermine the ability of online news publishers to generate revenue, jeopardizing their authority. And could potentially reduce the availability of news sources to the public. The watchdog also said that if Google continues to dominate the online advertising market, it could weaken competition and hurt consumers who ultimately pay for advertising.

Google’s promise, which will apply globally, means it will have to notify CMA before it intends to remove third-party cookies and wait for approval as Watchdog reviews it. Takes whether there are any remaining competition concerns. This will set a “time period” of at least 60 days before the cookies are turned off.

In addition, changes to the Google Chrome browser should apply to Google’s advertising products as well as other companies’ products, so that the company’s own products do not benefit.

The CMA and the Data Watchdog Information Commissioner’s Office will be involved in the development and testing process to monitor the potential impact on competition and privacy.

Finally, Google needs to be “more transparent” than its original purpose by engaging with third parties and publishing test results.

Google has just unveiled its latest privacy sandbox proposal. For interest-based advertising models called headlines. Experts told the Press Gazette that this was a “step in the right direction” for publishers, although the Silver Bullet was not the solution.

‘Don’t be under the illusion that we’re done’

Andrea Coselli, CMA’s chief executive, said: “The promises we’ve made to Google will promote competition, help protect online publishers’ ability to raise money through advertising, and protect consumer privacy. Will do

“While this is an important step, we are not under any illusions that our work is done. We have now entered a new phase where we will keep a close eye on Google as it continues to develop these suggestions.” We will engage with all market participants in this process, to ensure that Google takes into account the concerns and suggestions raised.

William Malcolm, Director and Legal Director of Google’s Privacy Legal at EMEA Oliver Bethel Written in a blog“We will implement the commitments globally as we believe they provide a roadmap to address both privacy and competition concerns in this developing sector.”

He insists that Google wants to support “the ability of advertisers to generate revenue from advertising inventory and the ability of advertisers to save money on advertising costs” while at the same time supporting a good user experience. , Provides customers with transparency and control. Not to distort the competition between their data, and Google’s own advertising products and its competitors.

“We recognize that many publishers and advertisers rely on online advertising to fund their websites and reach new customers,” he said. “So building tools aimed at improving people’s privacy, while supporting advertising, is key to keeping the web open and accessible to everyone and allowing businesses of all sizes to succeed.”

The couple said Google will increase its engagement with industry stakeholders, including publishers, advertisers and ad tech providers, “by providing a systematic feedback process to get relevant feedback and suggestions.”

James Roosevelt, of the campaign group Movement for an Open Web, which represents an online business that fears Google’s suggestions could jeopardize its freedom to operate, welcomed the CMA’s decision. ” The beginning of a journey towards public oversight of big tech promises. “

“Next steps include setting up a digital markets unit, holding a public authority accountable for making decisions about the functioning of digital gatekeepers,” he said.

‘Advertising technology choke’

The pledges were published on the same day that the European Publishers Council, whose members represent Newsweek, Bauer Media, The Guardian, The New York Times and Condڈے Nast, announced that they would use anti-competitive methods in their digital. Is suing Google. Advertising business.

The group said Google has an “ad tech stronghold” over publishers and other businesses in the ecosystem, with more than 90 percent market share in parts of the supply chain, and called on the European Commission to Be accountable and find it. How to restore effective competition.

Christian Van Thello, chairman of EPC, executive chairman of Belgian media company DPG Media, said: Behavior – The behavior that causes it and continues to cause significant damage, not only to European press publishers, but to all advertisers and ultimately consumers at higher prices (including advertising tech fees), less choice, less transparency and In case of less innovation.

“Competition authorities around the world have found that Google has restricted competition in ad tech, yet Google has managed to avoid minor promises that do nothing to change its behavior. The stakes are high, especially for the future of independent and pluralistic press financing.

“We urge the commission to take concrete steps now that will actually break the stranglehold that Google has on all of us.”

The OpenWeb movement, in support of the EPC, said the European Commission should “take swift and comprehensive action” not only to address changes to Google’s privacy sandbox browser but also to address other issues in the ad-tech ecosystem. Publishers and society depend on it. “

Google Spokesperson Told Reuters That publishers take advantage of its adtec services: “When publishers choose to use our advertising services, they make the most of their revenue and each year we direct billions of dollars directly to publishing partners in our advertising network. Pay. “

Post Google has given the UK Watchdog the final say on the removal of third party cookies. First published Press Gazette.

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