UK CMA Accepts Google's Post-Cookie Proposals, But Will 'Closely Monitor' Plan

The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Friday accepted a revised commitment from Google known as the Privacy Sandbox proposal to remove third-party cookies from the Chrome browser.

The final commitments the CMA accepted today are a result of an in-depth investigation and extensive engagement with Google and market participants, including two formal public consultations. They address the CMA’s competition concerns.

“We’re pleased that today the CMA has accepted these commitments, which now go into immediate effect,” Google wrote in a post published Friday. “We will apply the commitments globally because we believe that they provide a roadmap for how to address both privacy and competition concerns in this evolving sector.”

Google plans to end support for tracking cookies in its Chrome browser next year. It has worked on a new solution for years. The first set of commitments failed to meet CMA approval.

The commitments address the concerns through three main principles.

  • Google will make the changes in Chrome to uphold the Privacy Sandbox initiative, and apply the changes in the same way to Google’s advertising products as to products from other companies.
  • Google will design, develop and implement Privacy Sandbox with regulatory oversight and input from the CMA and the ICO.
  • Google will inform the CMA in advance of our intention to remove third-party cookies and agree to wait for their feedback on whether any competition law concerns remain.

The agreement also confirms that Google will not remove tracking cookies until it has satisfied its competition concerns.

Google recently announced a major change by ending its Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) initiative, replaying it with interest-based targeting it calls Topics.

The Topics API will determine and select topics of interest based on the user’s previous three weeks of browsing history. It will not use external servers, and will share those topics with participating sites, Google announced in January.

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