A TEAM OF UK DIGITAL MARKETING FIRMS TAKES ANTITRUST COMPLAINT AGAINST GOOGLE’S PRIVACY SANDBOX TO THE EU
Over the years the West and Europe have raised concern over data protection and users privacy, which tech companies have used cookies tracking technologies, however, in a bid to replace these tracking tools with alternative technologies which the search and Android giant – Google claims will protect user privacy, is amazingly faced with kickbacks. As a result, a group of UK digital marketing firms including others has reportedly taken its compliance to the EU, yet on a formal note with the bloc’s antitrust regulators.
The subject group identified as ‘Movement for an Open Web’ (MOW), which is also considered opaque, though in the meantime called (RIP ‘Marketers for an Open Web’), had actually put out a press release regarding the move, and made clear that it has provided the Commission with “evidence of Google’s technology changes, how they impact choice and competition” while offering some “potential remedies”.
Prior to this development, it was also noted that the EU regulators had eventually opened the long-awaited investigation of Google’s adtech this summer, and this saw the Commission announce an in-depth probe in June that they claim would cut across the Privacy Sandbox proposal. Similarly, a UK probe in this sphere was equally announced earlier which remained live on the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) desk, with the search and Android giant suggesting concessions this summer.
While the subject group which consists of UK digital marketing and other entities looks poised to suggest remedies to the bloc’s regulators which will include requirements that Google should notify the EU ahead of time over any changes to its Google Chrome or Chromium browser – primarily to “enable privacy and competition assessments to be made by the EU and data protection authorities in line with Google’s proposed remedy to the UK’s Competition and Market Authority and Information Commissioner’s Office”, the group stated.
In order not to disclose exactly who its members are, the group stated on its website that: “MOW is supported by businesses that between them have annual revenues of $40BN+. The name has been changed because more businesses, not just marketing companies, are realizing the threat from Privacy Sandbox and the benefit of joining the MOW campaign”.
And in its response to the complaint, ‘James Rosewell’ co-founder of UK mobile marketing company, 51 Degrees, said that: “The internet was originally envisaged as an open environment outside the control of any single body. Google maintains it is making these changes to protect privacy but if not properly policed, the move threatens digital media, online privacy, and innovation.
“Solutions aligned to laws – not self-serving misuse of the web architecture by the members of Big Tech such as Google – are needed. More people, surrendering more personal data to fewer companies doesn’t improve anyone’s privacy while stifling competition and boosting their huge profits even further”.
In view of this, a legal advisor to MOW lawyer ‘Tim Cowen’ made it clear that: “We’re asking that the EU Commission create a level playing field for all digital businesses, to maintain and protect an open web. Google says they’re strengthening ‘privacy’ for end users but they’re not, what they’re really proposing is a creepy data mining party”.
Google on its own has reportedly delayed its timeline for implementing the alternative to cookies technologies – Privacy Sandbox, which it noted that the transition could take longer due to ongoing engagement with the UK’s antitrust regulator. On the other hand, an analyst believes Google is reportedly seeking to remove this potential roadblock as quickly as possible ahead of its intended transition.
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