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UK: CMA publishes update on implementation of Google's commitment to address competition concerns of its Privacy Sandbox

On January 31, 2024, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published its latest update report on the implementation of Google LLC's commitment to address competition concerns resulting from Google's proposals to remove third-party cookies and other functionalities from its Chrome browser and replace them with a Privacy Sandbox.

What actions have been taken so far?

The CMA noted that the commitments which Google made in 2022, involve the CMA working with Google on the design and assessment of the Privacy Sandbox proposals before a final decision is taken to allow Google to remove third-party cookies. Specifically, the update report highlights, among other things, the following key actions taken between October and December 2023:

  • engagement with Google and market participants on the development of individual proposals (e.g., Protected Audience API);
  • enhancing understanding of Google's internal data control systems;
  • testing and trialing the Sandbox tools by Google and other market participants; and
  • working to ensure that necessary protections for data use are fully implemented well in advance of third-party cookie deprecation.

The CMA explained that the commitments also require Google not to remove third-party cookies before the expiry of a standstill period of at least 60 days after Google notifies the CMA of its intention to implement their removal.

Finally, the CMA stated that it is seeking feedback from interested parties on the report, which will inform the CMA's discussions with Google during the standstill period.

Comments can be submitted via email at [email protected] until February 27, 2024.

You can read the press release here and the report here.