Update from CMA & Google on Privacy Sandbox

Posted on Friday 28 October 2022 | IAB UK

The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) has published Google’s quarterly report, updating on binding commitments made in relation to Privacy Sandbox

Update, Friday 4 November: The CMA has published a note which sets out the framework on how quantitative testing might inform its assessment of Google’s Privacy Sandbox proposals. You can find it here. The CMA will be working with Google to further develop the ideas in this note and to design experiments that Google can carry out itself. Google has committed to being transparent in reporting the results of its tests. The CMA also wants to encourage other market participants to get involved in testing and is keen to get feedback on the ideas in the note.

Published on Friday 28 October: The CMA has published Google’s latest quarterly report on its compliance with the binding commitments Google made earlier in the year regarding the removal of third-party cookies on Chrome and development of its Privacy Sandbox tools. The report provides a progress update of the Privacy Sandbox proposals, timing expectations, Google’s interactions with the CMA and third parties. It also sets out the approach Google has taken to address any concerns raised by the CMA or other third-parties. You can find the full report here

At the same time, the CMA has also published its latest update report on the implementation of Google’s commitments. This report aims to explain the progress made to date and highlights areas of focus where potential concerns have been raised, including through feedback from wider industry. It states that the CMA’s current overall priorities include:

  • Ensuring Google designs a robust testing framework for its proposed new tools and APIs. To effectively shape quantitative testing, the CMA will be seeking feedback from market participants on the design of effectiveness testing
  • Continuing to engage with market participants to understand concerns raised by them, challenging Google over its proposed approaches and exploring alternative designs for the Privacy Sandbox tools which might address issues identified 
  • Embedding the Technical Expert (S-RM) into the monitoring regime. The Technical Expert’s role will be primarily analysing data access and flows within Google’s systems, ensuring robust technical access controls and security are in place, and supporting the Monitoring Trustee by providing additional ad tech expertise

At the end of its report, the CMA details a number of areas where it is looking for input from the industry, specifically:

  • For those who plan to eventually adopt and use the Privacy Sandbox technologies to engage with any testing that they have the capability to carry out early
  • Feedback on the CMA’s plans for the assessment that will be outlined in a separate note on experimental designs to be published shortly, and understand stakeholders’ capability to conduct quantitative tests.

The CMA is welcoming views from members of the online advertising ecosystem on the report, as well as on any other relevant publications (eg Google’s own quarterly reports). The relevant contact details are:

The next report will be published in early 2023.

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