Google Tracking Cookie Plan Inspected By UK Antitrust Probe

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Google has plans to end support for third party cookie tracking in the Chrome Brower. As reported by Tech Radar this aim has come under investigation by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

As most of us are well aware by now, Google has long had issues with antitrust authorities across various backgrounds and scenarios. Last year the company faced a number of hearing and investigations as regulators have become more stringent on the matter.

In October Google faced is first hearing for one lawsuit against the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). This story first came to light back in July when it emerged that Google would face a lawsuit in 2020 for its actions.

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Now it looks like the company could face some issues in the UK. The UK regulator has launched the probe under Chapter II of the UK’s Competition Act 1998. It claims there are "suspected breaches of competition law by Google".

UK regulator launches probe into Google cookie tracking

This move follows an original complaint back in November by a coalition of digital marketing companies. They requested that the CMA to block Google’s implementation of what they described as a ‘Privacy Sandbox’.

It has now emerged that the CMA has also received a number of complaints from newspapers as well as other technology companies. They allege that Google is abusing its position of power within the industry.

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This coalition of companies has welcomed the investigation describing it as "vital for the future of all online businesses".

Google, however, was quick to respond to the allegations and investigation. The statement said, "the Privacy Sandbox has been an open initiative since the beginning and we welcome the CMA’s involvement as we work to develop new proposals to underpin a healthy, ad-supported web without third-party cookies".

Google originally said it would implement the 'Sandbox' in 2021 but now it looks like that could get delayed until the following year.

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Anti-tracking measures by browsers are broadly a reaction by company's to consumer distaste that the amount of data extracted from users. This is what has spelt the demise of third-party cookies overall.

However, in this case, it looks like Google has used privacy as a convenient excuse to increase its market power. The CMA has commented on the balance between privacy and competition.

It stated that it was "considering how best to address legitimate privacy concerns without distorting competition".

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One of the main issues with the removal of tracking cookies is what will replace them. Currently there are a number of different proposals out there but nothing is for definite.