As the CMA found in its recent market study, Google’s Privacy Sandbox proposals will potentially have a very significant impact on publishers like newspapers, and the digital advertising market. But there are also privacy concerns to consider, which is why we will continue to work with the ICO as we progress this investigation, while also engaging directly with Google and other market participants about our concerns.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it found in a recent study that “[Google] could undermine the ability of publishers to generate revenue and undermine competition in digital advertising, entrenching Google’s market power.” It also said that it has received complaints from a group representing newspaper publishers and technology companies, alleging that Google may be “abusing its dominant position.”
Given those concerns, the CMA decided to conduct a formal investigation into Google’s changes. The regulator said it “has an open mind and has not reached any conclusions” at this stage as to whether any laws have been broken. It will continue to work with Google to address both privacy and competition concerns development of the new tools progresses.
Meanwhile, Google told Engadget that it’s trying to balance privacy laws and the need to support “content creators, newsrooms, web developers, videographers” and other who rely on ad revenue. It added that the Privacy Sandbox proposals have not been finalized, and it will continue to collaborate with “technologists, businesses, publishers, regulators and others before making any changes in 2022.” A Google spokesperson also gave the following statement:
Creating a more private web, while also enabling the publishers and advertisers who support the free and open internet, requires the industry to make major changes to the way digital advertising works. The Privacy Sandbox has been an open initiative since the beginning and we welcome the CMA’s involvement as we work to develop new proposals to underpin a healthy, ad-supported web without third-party cookies.