Google agrees UK competition, privacy pledge on online ads

(FILES) A file photo taken on January 18, 2019 shows the logo of the internet giant Google above the entrance to their offices, in London. – The British Competition Markets Authority (CMA) has accepted the changes proposed by Google on third-party cookies and the way it uses its users’ data, according to a statement released on February 11, 2022. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP)


LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Britain on Friday said it had accepted changes proposed by US tech giant Google to address competition and customer privacy concerns linked to online advertising.

“The commitments we have obtained from Google will promote competition, help to protect the ability of online publishers to raise money through advertising and safeguard users’ privacy,” the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regulator said in a statement.

Google separately said it would “apply the commitments globally”, adding “they provide a roadmap for how to address both privacy and competition concerns in this evolving sector”.

The outcome follows a CMA investigation launched 13 months ago into Google plans prohibiting placement of third party “cookies” on its Chrome browser, a move that has angered some publishers and advertisers.

Critics have argued that the project — known as the “Privacy Sandbox” — would increase Google’s dominance since the giant holds mountains of data on consumer behaviour that will be denied to others.

“The CMA has secured legally binding commitments from Google to address competition concerns over its Privacy Sandbox,” Friday’s statement said.

Going forward, the watchdog will “supervise Google to ensure the Privacy Sandbox is developed in a way that benefits consumers”.

© Agence France-Presse