Google agrees to not favor its personal merchandise or entry person private information in commitments with UK regulator on FLoC

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Google has agreed to work with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), a UK regulator, on their privacy sandbox. The CMA opened an investigation into Google’s FLoC in January this year when advertisers raised concerns about the privacy and competitive impact of removing third-party cookies in Chrome.

“The CMA was concerned that Google’s alternatives could be developed and implemented without regulatory oversight and control in a way that would impede competition in the digital advertising markets,” the CMA website said. The idea is that when Google has full control over how advertisers and publishers use data, there is little insight into how the data is used. “This would result in advertising spending becoming even more focused on Google, which harms consumers who ultimately pay for the advertising costs.”

Google’s commitments. The CMA is now reviewing the commitments made by Google and “If the commitments are accepted, they would be legally binding,” says the CMA’s announcement.

Google has agreed to work with the CMA and the industry regarding changes, schedules, tests, etc., of our products. Additionally, our ad products also don’t access synced Chrome browser histories or Google Analytics accounts from publishers to track users, target and measure ads on our own sites like Google Search. “

Ultimately, Google undertakes not to create any advantages for itself: “During the development and implementation of the privacy sandbox proposals, this work will not give either Google’s advertising products or Google’s own websites any preferential treatment or an advantage,” wrote Oliver Bethell, Director, Legal.

Why is it important? “This marks the start of a public consultation on these commitments, and if they are formally accepted at the end of this process, we will apply them globally. It is also the first study of its kind that combines the forces of competition and data protection authorities, ”a Google spokesman told Search Engine Land.

Why we care. Depending on the course of the engagement, this can lead to Google not implementing FLoC as quickly as expected and sticking to third-party cookies for longer. This is not the only test that Google and FLoC are subject to. Back in March, we discovered that Google’s FLoC tests were not GDPR compliant. And multiple sources have written articles about why FLoC may not really protect user privacy. Implementation is likely inevitable, but regulatory review can delay it.

About the author

Carolyn Lyden is Director of Search Content for Search Engine Land and SMX. With expertise in SEO, content marketing, local search, and analytics, she focuses on making things easier for marketers with critical news and educational content.

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