UK investigating Google Chrome privacy plan

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 8
The UK's competition authority is investigating Google's plan to have Chrome block third-party cookies, and replace them with a system whose benefits to the company may be anticompetitive.

Credit: Google
Credit: Google


Full blocking of third-party cookies came to Apple's Safari browser in early 2019, but Google's similar plan for Chrome has now prompted an investigation by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

"Google's Privacy Sandbox proposals will potentially have a very significant impact on publishers like newspapers, and the digital advertising market," said Andrea Coscelli, CEO of the CMA, in a statement. "But there are also privacy concerns to consider, which is why we will continue to work with the [Information Commissioner's Office] as we progress this investigation, while also engaging directly with Google and other market participants about our concerns."

The CMA reports that it has had an unspecified number of complaints about Google's plans. It cites only one example, however, which was from the Marketers for an Open Web (MOW), a coalition of newspaper firms and technology companies.

MOW wrote to the CMA in November 2020, claiming that Google's move is not concerned with privacy, only with commerce. "If Google releases this technology, they will effectively own the means by which media companies, advertisers and technology businesses reach their consumers and that change will be irreversible," James Rosewell, Director of MOW, wrote.

Google expects to implement its plan by 2022, and as part of it, advertisers will receive less data than at present.

"Google's announced changes -- known collectively as the Privacy Sandbox' project -- would disable third party cookies on the Chrome browser and Chromium browser engine," continues the CMA statement, "and replace them with a new set of tools for targeting advertising and other functionality that they say will protect consumers' privacy to a greater extent."

The investigation has begun with what the CMA describes as "information gathering, including issue of formal or informal information requests." The investigation is currently expected to take until July 2021 to complete.

Separately, the US Department of Justice has been investigating whether Chrome should be split off from Google. One reason is to do with how allegedly the company is able to use the popularity of its search engine to benefit advertising in Chrome.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,176member
    How funny...
    Now that Google is rolling out privacy initiatives to match and complement Apple's it's a bad thing. Got it. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 2 of 7
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,176member
    auxio said:
    gatorguy said:
    lkrupp said:
    gatorguy said:
    How funny...
    Now that Google is rolling out privacy initiatives to match and complement Apple's it's a bad thing. Got it. 
    Yeah, right, google employee. Block third party cookies and replace them with their own ’tools’ to gather data for sale to advertisers. Sure sounds like evil to me. You sound like Trump living in your own reality of lies, alternate facts, and conspiracy theories to protect your beloved google. And your ilk calls us Fanboys. Pffft.
    You should spend some timing reading about what the initiative does and how it's going to be implemented. Listening to another advertiser complain about it and then basing your understanding on it is like Facebook complaining about Apple's similar control and accepting Facebook is right.
    This is quite like Apple's AFAICT. 
    The difference is, Apple isn't an advertising company.  So they're not in direct competition with the companies they're blocking in Safari.

    Even if one trusts Google to be consistent with blocking both themselves and others in Chrome, they'll still be able to do data harvesting via Android.  So they have a competitive advantage over other online advertising agencies.
    So then they shouldn't improve the state of user privacy when using Chrome in much the same way as Apple has improved Safari user privacy? What would be your priority, privacy or 3rd party data harvesting?
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 3 of 7
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,333member
    gatorguy said:
    auxio said:
    gatorguy said:
    lkrupp said:
    gatorguy said:
    How funny...
    Now that Google is rolling out privacy initiatives to match and complement Apple's it's a bad thing. Got it. 
    Yeah, right, google employee. Block third party cookies and replace them with their own ’tools’ to gather data for sale to advertisers. Sure sounds like evil to me. You sound like Trump living in your own reality of lies, alternate facts, and conspiracy theories to protect your beloved google. And your ilk calls us Fanboys. Pffft.
    You should spend some timing reading about what the initiative does and how it's going to be implemented. Listening to another advertiser complain about it and then basing your understanding on it is like Facebook complaining about Apple's similar control and accepting Facebook is right.
    This is quite like Apple's AFAICT. 
    The difference is, Apple isn't an advertising company.  So they're not in direct competition with the companies they're blocking in Safari.

    Even if one trusts Google to be consistent with blocking both themselves and others in Chrome, they'll still be able to do data harvesting via Android.  So they have a competitive advantage over other online advertising agencies.
    So then they shouldn't improve the state of user privacy when using Chrome in much the same way as Apple has improved Safari user privacy? What would be your priority, privacy or 3rd party data harvesting?
    Oh I'm all for user privacy/choice everywhere.  However, I can definitely see the anticompetitive argument.  The only way to level the playing field would be to either allow 3rd party apps to have access to the information being harvested at the Android OS level (and both Google + 3rd party apps need to ask users to opt in), or to stop gathering information at that level for advertising purposes.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 7
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,176member
    auxio said:
    gatorguy said:
    auxio said:
    gatorguy said:
    lkrupp said:
    gatorguy said:
    How funny...
    Now that Google is rolling out privacy initiatives to match and complement Apple's it's a bad thing. Got it. 
    Yeah, right, google employee. Block third party cookies and replace them with their own ’tools’ to gather data for sale to advertisers. Sure sounds like evil to me. You sound like Trump living in your own reality of lies, alternate facts, and conspiracy theories to protect your beloved google. And your ilk calls us Fanboys. Pffft.
    You should spend some timing reading about what the initiative does and how it's going to be implemented. Listening to another advertiser complain about it and then basing your understanding on it is like Facebook complaining about Apple's similar control and accepting Facebook is right.
    This is quite like Apple's AFAICT. 
    The difference is, Apple isn't an advertising company.  So they're not in direct competition with the companies they're blocking in Safari.

    Even if one trusts Google to be consistent with blocking both themselves and others in Chrome, they'll still be able to do data harvesting via Android.  So they have a competitive advantage over other online advertising agencies.
    So then they shouldn't improve the state of user privacy when using Chrome in much the same way as Apple has improved Safari user privacy? What would be your priority, privacy or 3rd party data harvesting?
    Oh I'm all for user privacy/choice everywhere.  However, I can definitely see the anticompetitive argument.  The only way to level the playing field would be to either allow 3rd party apps to have access to the information being harvested at the Android OS level (and both Google + 3rd party apps need to ask users to opt in), or to stop gathering information at that level for advertising purposes.
    3rd parties can still get some needed data, but anonymized and limited in generally the same way Apple does. 

    Here is what is actually being proposed as the first commenter has no idea apparently.
    https://digiday.com/marketing/wtf-googles-privacy-sandbox/

    “The most significant item in the Privacy Sandbox is Google’s proposal to move all user data into the browser where it will be stored and processed,” said Amit Kotecha, marketing director at data management platform provider Permutive. “This means that data stays on the user’s device and is privacy compliant. This is now table stakes and the gold standard for privacy.”
    edited January 8
  • Reply 5 of 7
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,333member
    gatorguy said:
    auxio said:
    gatorguy said:
    auxio said:
    gatorguy said:
    lkrupp said:
    gatorguy said:
    How funny...
    Now that Google is rolling out privacy initiatives to match and complement Apple's it's a bad thing. Got it. 
    Yeah, right, google employee. Block third party cookies and replace them with their own ’tools’ to gather data for sale to advertisers. Sure sounds like evil to me. You sound like Trump living in your own reality of lies, alternate facts, and conspiracy theories to protect your beloved google. And your ilk calls us Fanboys. Pffft.
    You should spend some timing reading about what the initiative does and how it's going to be implemented. Listening to another advertiser complain about it and then basing your understanding on it is like Facebook complaining about Apple's similar control and accepting Facebook is right.
    This is quite like Apple's AFAICT. 
    The difference is, Apple isn't an advertising company.  So they're not in direct competition with the companies they're blocking in Safari.

    Even if one trusts Google to be consistent with blocking both themselves and others in Chrome, they'll still be able to do data harvesting via Android.  So they have a competitive advantage over other online advertising agencies.
    So then they shouldn't improve the state of user privacy when using Chrome in much the same way as Apple has improved Safari user privacy? What would be your priority, privacy or 3rd party data harvesting?
    Oh I'm all for user privacy/choice everywhere.  However, I can definitely see the anticompetitive argument.  The only way to level the playing field would be to either allow 3rd party apps to have access to the information being harvested at the Android OS level (and both Google + 3rd party apps need to ask users to opt in), or to stop gathering information at that level for advertising purposes.
    3rd parties can still get some needed data, but anonymized and limited in generally the same way Apple does. 

    Here is what is actually being proposed as the first commenter has no idea apparently.
    https://digiday.com/marketing/wtf-googles-privacy-sandbox/

    “The most significant item in the Privacy Sandbox is Google’s proposal to move all user data into the browser where it will be stored and processed,” said Amit Kotecha, marketing director at data management platform provider Permutive. “This means that data stays on the user’s device and is privacy compliant. This is now table stakes and the gold standard for privacy.”
    But Google still gets any data they want, anonymised or not, but third parties only get "some needed data" that is "anonymized and limited".
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 7
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,176member
    elijahg said:
    gatorguy said:
    auxio said:
    gatorguy said:
    auxio said:
    gatorguy said:
    lkrupp said:
    gatorguy said:
    How funny...
    Now that Google is rolling out privacy initiatives to match and complement Apple's it's a bad thing. Got it. 
    Yeah, right, google employee. Block third party cookies and replace them with their own ’tools’ to gather data for sale to advertisers. Sure sounds like evil to me. You sound like Trump living in your own reality of lies, alternate facts, and conspiracy theories to protect your beloved google. And your ilk calls us Fanboys. Pffft.
    You should spend some timing reading about what the initiative does and how it's going to be implemented. Listening to another advertiser complain about it and then basing your understanding on it is like Facebook complaining about Apple's similar control and accepting Facebook is right.
    This is quite like Apple's AFAICT. 
    The difference is, Apple isn't an advertising company.  So they're not in direct competition with the companies they're blocking in Safari.

    Even if one trusts Google to be consistent with blocking both themselves and others in Chrome, they'll still be able to do data harvesting via Android.  So they have a competitive advantage over other online advertising agencies.
    So then they shouldn't improve the state of user privacy when using Chrome in much the same way as Apple has improved Safari user privacy? What would be your priority, privacy or 3rd party data harvesting?
    Oh I'm all for user privacy/choice everywhere.  However, I can definitely see the anticompetitive argument.  The only way to level the playing field would be to either allow 3rd party apps to have access to the information being harvested at the Android OS level (and both Google + 3rd party apps need to ask users to opt in), or to stop gathering information at that level for advertising purposes.
    3rd parties can still get some needed data, but anonymized and limited in generally the same way Apple does. 

    Here is what is actually being proposed as the first commenter has no idea apparently.
    https://digiday.com/marketing/wtf-googles-privacy-sandbox/

    “The most significant item in the Privacy Sandbox is Google’s proposal to move all user data into the browser where it will be stored and processed,” said Amit Kotecha, marketing director at data management platform provider Permutive. “This means that data stays on the user’s device and is privacy compliant. This is now table stakes and the gold standard for privacy.”
    But Google still gets any data they want, anonymized or not, but third parties only get "some needed data" that is "anonymized and limited".
    You did not read the link I gave you. Identifying data remains on your personal device and not gathered by Google.
  • Reply 7 of 7
    Full blocking of third-party cookies came to Apple's Safari browser in early 2019, 

    I CALL BS. I keep reading this. And I have to go in five times a day on my iPad and phone and clear out Google cookies and Facebook cookies and cloudfront cookies and many more. 
    I do not know how Apple can continue to say that they block third-party cookies. 
    I really pisses me off. 
    Maybe someone can explain where I am missing the boat.
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