On Friday 8 January, the United Kingdom's Competition and Market Authority (CMA) announced that they will launch an investigation into Google's Privacy Sandbox.
The probe will focus on whether the Google proposal for Privacy Sandbox, in removing third party cookies and other services from Chrome, will yield a more Google concentrated advertising ecosystem. The proposed changes would include substantial changes on targeted advertising while disabling third party cookies on Chrome browser and Chromium browser engine.
CMA's recent market study on online platforms for digital advertising highlighted various potential effects of the proposed changes:
the weakening of the news publishers ability to generate revenue, and
to undermine competition in digital advertising, fixing Google's market power.
The EPC welcomes the CMA's actions to inquire into Google's Privacy Sandbox proposal, especially when considering the exceedingly important role of advertising, and the revenue generated from it, in safeguarding democracy and maintaining the integrity of independent news publishing.
Angela Mills Wade, EPC Executive Director said: “Google’s policy change is bound to have far-reaching consequences for thousands or millions of stakeholders, considering that Google controls the most popular web browser in the world, Chrome. There is a real risk that Google becomes an unconstrained de facto privacy regulator for the online advertising industry, getting to decide for everyone the right trade-off between privacy, efficiency and competition. The EPC’s concerns relate to the implications of Google’s policy change for competition among publishers and ad tech vendors, and thus the ability of news and magazine publishers to monetize their content and continue fulfilling their socially important mission.”