HomeInsightsCompetition and Markets Authority consults on proposed commitments from Google in relation to its “Privacy Sandbox” browser changes

The CMA is inviting views on the commitments offered by Google to address the CMA’s competition concerns in the context of an investigation under the Competition Act 1998 relating to Google’s proposals to remove third party cookies and other functionalities from its Chrome browser (see item above).

The commitments offered by Google to the CMA include:

  • a commitment to develop and implement the proposals in a way that avoids distortions to competition and the imposition of unfair terms on Chrome users, including a commitment to involve the CMA and the ICO in the development of the proposals to ensure this objective is met;
  • increased transparency from Google on how and when the proposals will be taken forward and on what basis they will be assessed, including a commitment to publicly disclose the results of tests of the effectiveness of alternative technologies;
  • substantial limits on how Google will use and combine individual user data for the purposes of digital advertising after the removal of third-party cookies;
  • a commitment that Google will not discriminate against its rivals in favour of its own advertising and ad-tech businesses when designing or operating the alternatives to third-party cookies; and
  • a standstill period of at least 60 days before Google proceeds with the removal of third party cookies giving the CMA the opportunity, if any outstanding concerns cannot be resolved with Google, to reopen its investigation and, if necessary, impose any interim measures necessary to avoid harm to competition.

The CMA considers these commitments address its concerns and is seeking views from interested third parties before deciding whether to accept them. The CMA is particularly interested to hear any views on whether the proposed commitments are sufficient to address the CMA’s competition concerns regarding:

  • unequal access to the functionality associated with user tracking;
  • self-preferencing Google’s own ad tech providers and owned and operated ad inventory; and
  • imposition of unfair terms on Chrome’s web users.

The consultation closes at 5 pm on 8 July 2021. To access the consultation, click here.