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Google’s push to phase out third party tracking cookies — aka its ‘Privacy Sandbox’ initiative — is facing a competition challenge in Europe. A coalition of digital marketing companies calling itself Marketers for an Open Web (MOW) announced couple of days ago that it’s filed a complaint with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), calling for the regulator to block implementation of the Sandbox.
The coalition wants Google’s phasing out of third party tracking cookies to be put on ice to prevent the Sandbox launching in early 2021 to give regulators time to devise or propose what it dubs “long term competitive remedies to mitigate [Google’s dominance]”.
Also commenting in a statement, MOW’s director Roswell said: “The concept of the open web is based on a decentralised, standards-based environment that is not under the control of any single commercial organisation. This model is vital to the health of a free and independent media, to a competitive digital business environment and to the freedom and choice of all web users. Privacy Sandbox creates new, Google-owned standards and is an irreversible step towards a Google-owned ‘walled garden’ web where they control how businesses and users interact online.”
The group’s complaint follows a similar one filed in France last month (via Reuters) — albeit, in that case targeting privacy changes incoming to Apple’s smartphone platform that are also set to limit advertisers access to an iPhone-specific tracking ID that’s generated for that purpose (IDFA).
However CMA has not yet taken a decision on whether or not to investigate. However they have said some of of the concerns raised in the letter relate to those they’ve identified in their online platforms and digital advertising market study. If they feel that urgency is importance, they might place an interim block on the sandbox release until decision to investigate is evaluated