UK Regulator Asks for Commitments from Google on AdTech

Don Don | December 10, 2021 | data privacy

Google once again finds itself the subject under the microscope of a European regulator.

This latest incident involves the search engine giant and the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) over advertising technology and data privacy issues. 

In late November, the CMA released a statement detailing Google's revised commitments to preserve privacy for users of the company's Chrome browser. These assurances from Google also addressed the complaints raised by industry insiders who believed that many of the changes to Google's Privacy Playground would curtail commercial competition.

One of the most significant and contested changes to the company's Chrome browser would include the elimination of third-party cookies aimed at targeting specific users and personalizing advertisement campaigns. 

Google to drop 3rd party cookie

The new revisions come on the heels of earlier promises that Google gave the CMA in June of this year after the regulatory agency began investigating the proposed changes in January.

At the time, many experts in the data privacy and advertising technology fields found the earlier commitments did not go far enough to protect British internet users and businesses. 

According to a November 26 press release from the CMA, Google now promises to:

  • reveal the role of CMA in any statements the company makes when discussing the matter;
  • tell Google employees to avoid giving any misleading or false information to customers about the company's commitments regarding the matter;
  • update the CMA regularly concerning how Google is addressing third-party views;
  • tackle all concerns regarding Google eliminating any data or functions prior to the updates of the Privacy Sandbox go into full effect.  (Privacy Sandbox definition)
  • provide information on any internal limitations that Google will place on the use of the data it gathers;
  • offer greater certainty to outside developers working on creating alternative technologies;
  • hold off on implementing the elimination of third-party cookies until at least 2023, and
  • create systems for reporting and compliance, including the appointment of an independent Monitoring Trustee.

For a much more in-depth review of Google's revised commitment, please refer to the Notice of intention to accept modified commitments offered by Google in relation to its Privacy Sandbox Proposals.

Despite these changes and Google's expanded commitments to the CMA, not all experts agree that the new agreement goes far enough. 

In order to allow enough time for input, the CMA will continue to accept public comments on Google's revised plans for addressing data privacy and third-party advertising concerns up until 5 pm on December 17. 


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