Activists today urged Britain’s competition watchdog to impose a restraining order on Google over its introduction of the controversial ‘Privacy Sandbox’ system.
Google wants to replace third-party cookies, where advertisers track individuals across the websites they visit, with new technology that divides users into groups.
But the Movement for the Open Web (MOW) coalition of tech companies, advertisers and publishers said Google acknowledges that removing the Third-party cookies ‘without a suitable alternative’ He’ll see that most of the world’s 500 largest publishers lose more than 50 percent of their revenue, and some are over 75 percent.
MOW is now calling on the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to issue a restraining order against rolling out the Privacy Sandbox so that the US tech giant can show it has delivered on its latest pledges about how the system works.
Google has given CMA commitments about the launch in June, which means it will take place under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency. After consultation, the CMA asked for it to be boosted — and Google made improved pledges last month.
This included increasing Google’s transparency and engagement with the industry, and improving the company’s judgments about which self-advertisement products would prefer.
MOW says the “Privacy Sandbox” will weaken independent analytics, advertising, fraud detection, data services, performance optimization, and other open web features.
The Movement for an Open Web referred to this document prepared by Google in 2019 which states that if third-party cookies are removed without a suitable alternative, “most of the world’s 500 largest publishers will lose more than 50 percent of their revenue,” and over 75 publishers worldwide. percent’
‘Privacy Sandbox’ will be a complete overhaul of how ads work on Google’s Chrome browser
It also believes that the system will increase the value of the data that Google obtains from sources uniquely available to it through integrated services such as search functions.
Now, the injunction wants to ensure that Google cannot implement any stage of the Privacy Sandbox until it convinces the CMA that it is meeting the amended obligations.
What commitments has Google made to the Competition and Markets Authority?
These were the new commitments Google made to the Competition and Markets Authority last month during its launch of the Privacy Sandbox:
- Ensure that the role of the CMA and the ongoing CMA process are mentioned in Google’s major public announcements;
- directing its employees not to make claims to clients that are inconsistent with the obligations;
- Provide regular reports to the Capital Market Authority on how Google takes into account the opinions of third parties;
- address concerns about Google removing functionality or information prior to the full Privacy Sandbox changes, including by delaying enforcement of its privacy budget proposal, and making commitments about introducing measures to reduce access to IP addresses;
- Clarify internal restrictions on the data that Google can use;
- provide greater certainty to third parties developing alternative technologies;
- Improving provisions for reporting and compliance, including by appointing a CMA-accredited Monitoring Trustee; And
- Google’s amended obligations shall continue for a period of 6 years from the date of any decision by the Capital Market Authority to accept it.
James Roswell, founder of MOW, today called on the CMA to take further action.
He said: ‘After bringing the issue up for consultation, the authority should listen to those in Google’s imminent firing line.
The planned changes at Google will harm business – Google itself says so. The CMA needs to rely on and use its powers.
If not, we will see many publishers, however their headlines and press, go to the wall or the “walled gardens” of Google and Apple. Using a temporary order will save time to negotiate practical improvements to online competition and privacy.
The coalition highlighted a document prepared by Google engineers in 2019 that found that “if the Privacy Sandbox removes “third-party” cookies used by companies without a suitable alternative, most of the world’s Big Five publishers will lose more than 50 percent of their cookies. their own revenue, some over 75 per cent.
A Department of Labor spokesperson added: “This presents a significant threat to journalism as news publishers increasingly rely on digital advertising to generate income. The CMA agrees with the finding and believes potential losses are closer to 70 per cent.
MailOnline contacted the CMA and Google for comment today.
Last month Google made new proposals about the way it uses customer data after the CMA’s intervention.
The CMA is concerned that the Privacy Sandbox risks compressing competition by removing third-party cookies and other functionality from the Chrome browser.
Investigators have raised concerns that Google’s plans to hide data – in the name of privacy – will hinder competition in the digital advertising markets.
The CMA said this could make advertising spending more focused on Google, to the detriment of consumers who ultimately pay for advertising.
It added that it may undermine the ability of online publishers to generate revenue and continue to produce valuable content in the future, reducing options for consumers.
As a result of the changes proposed by Google, the regulator said privacy could be improved without negatively affecting users.
Google has already announced a two-year delay in phasing out third-party cookies
The CMA launched its investigation in June of this year and heard from more than 40 third parties, who raised fears that competition was hurting.
Google is now committed to more transparency and sharing, along with a commitment not to remove certain functionality before third-party cookies.
The tech giant added that it will ensure that the CMA continues to play a role in monitoring the business and that it is mentioned in major future public announcements.
Employees must not make claims to clients that conflict with obligations and must provide regular reports on how third party views are taken into account.
Google has already announced a two-year delay in phasing out third-party ad tracking cookies on its browser until 2023 while it works with the industry to ensure it is not given an unfair advantage.
The CMA said internal restrictions on the data that Google can use will be clarified and greater certainty will be provided to third parties developing alternative technologies.