Google’s Privacy Sandbox x CMA: Here’s what’s happening

Posted on: Friday 11 June 2021 | IAB UK

Following an announcement from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that Google has committed to address its concerns about the removal of third-party cookies in Chrome, here’s what it means for the digital ad industry

In January 2021, the CMA launched an investigation into Google’s Privacy Sandbox in response to concerns that Google’s plans for the removal of third-party cookies from Chrome and its introduction of alternatives could impede competition in digital advertising markets. Google welcomed this development and has described it as an “opportunity to engage with a regulator with the mandate to promote competition for the benefit of consumers”. 

Google has now announced a range of binding commitments to address the CMA’s concerns. These include: 

  • That it will work with the CMA to resolve concerns and develop agreed parameters for the testing of new proposals. Google will also provide transparency around the timetable, as well as a clear notice period for changes.
  • Once third-party cookies are phased out, Google’s ad products will not access synced Chrome browsing histories (or data from other user-facing Google products) in order to track users to target or measure ads on third party web inventory.
  • As the Privacy Sandbox proposals are developed and implemented, that work will not give preferential treatment or advantage to Google’s advertising products or to Google’s own sites

You can read the full list of commitments here. The CMA has now launched a consultation on whether to accept Google’s commitments, which you can respond to by submitting written representations to Angela Nissyrios and Simon Deeble at [email protected] by 8 July 2021 at 5pm.

Commenting on the developments, IAB UK’s CEO Jon Mew, said: “At the IAB, we have always been really clear that the phasing out of third-party cookies is an opportunity to reset the ad-funded web for the better, which is why we have laid out clear principles that we believe any viable User ID solutions must meet. I think that the CMA’s investigation into Privacy Sandbox and Google’s commitments to address its concerns about the potential impact on competition are an important and valuable part of this process. 

“The phasing out of third-party cookies is the most seismic shift that the digital ad industry has ever experienced and it’s only right that developments in this space are subject to appropriate regulatory oversight and scrutiny."

Written by

IAB UK

Related content

Servers

CMA releases update report on the implementation of Google’s Privacy Sandbox commitments

The report sets out the progress made to date and highlights areas of focus where potential concerns have been raised

Learn more
Google

IAB UK statement in response to Google announcement of delay to phase-out of third-party cookies

With Google announcing that it now intends to begin phasing out third-party cookies in Chrome in the second half of 2024, read a statement from our CEO...

Learn more
Google signage

CMA launches second investigation into Google’s ad tech practices

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating whether Google has restricted competition in the digital advertising technology market

Learn more

CMA announces investigation into Google & Meta

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating whether Google and Meta restricted or prevented the uptake of header bidding services

Learn more

Why digital advertising works

Discover why digital advertising is effective for reaching your customers and building brands.