Google Faces Regulatory Scrutiny As UK Watchdog Questions Privacy Measures


Regulatory scrutiny intensifies as the U.K.’s privacy watchdog raises alarms over Google GOOGL GOOG and its latest digital privacy initiative.

What Happened: The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has voiced concerns that the tech giant’s Privacy Sandbox may not adequately protect consumer privacy, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The ICO’s preliminary findings indicate the technology could potentially allow for the identification of users who are meant to remain anonymous.

Google is working on the Privacy Sandbox as a means to phase out third-party cookies and reduce tracking across websites and apps, while still offering free access to content. Despite these aims, the ICO has pinpointed possible privacy shortcomings within the new framework.

The company has set a target to fully remove third-party cookies by the latter half of 2024. This plan has caught the eye of the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is concerned about the potential negative impact on competition within the digital advertising sector.

The ICO is in the process of requesting changes from Google and is in dialogue with the CMA. The CMA has committed to considering the ICO’s apprehensions when evaluating Google’s strategy for cookie elimination.

See Also: ‘When Elon Musk Met Jack Ma And Instantly Regretted It’

Why It Matters: In 2022, Google announced a delay in its third-party cookie phase-out to the second half of 2024. This postponement was to allow more time for the evaluation and testing of the new Privacy Sandbox technologies intended to replace third-party cookies. The delay was considered favorable for Alphabet investors and the online advertising industry, which relies heavily on cookies for targeted advertising.

As Google begins testing restricted cookie use on a small percentage of Chrome users, the implications for the $600 billion online advertising industry are significant. The move away from third-party cookies, which has been criticized for compromising user privacy, could reshape how advertisers track and target internet users.

Read Next: Elon Musk Says ‘Bring It On’ After Russian Space Chief Touts Amur Rocket, Says It Can Be Reused Up To 5X More Than SpaceX’s Falcon 9

Photo: Courtesy Jonny Gios via Unsplash

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Posted In: NewsTechGeneralGoogleGoogle Privacy SandboxPooja RajkumariPrivacy ConcernsStories That MatterU.K. Competition and Markets AuthorityUnited Kingdom
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