Press Release

All eyes on Brussels as CMA makes Decision on Privacy Sandbox

In a world-wide first Google are subject to “ex ante” regulation after the  UK’s CMA agreed regulatory oversight of Privacy Sandbox. The CMA will ensure Google do not remove third-party cookies until competition preserving alternatives are available and accepted.[i]

Meanwhile the EU continues its investigations, which has drawn complaints from Movement for an Open Web (MOW), Axel Springer, a range of trade associations, joined yesterday by the European Publishers’ Council.

MOW continues to make its case to the EU Commission and fully supports both Axel Springer and the European Publishers Council. The Commission must take swift and comprehensive action; addressing not only Google’s Privacy Sandbox Browser changes but also other issues throughout the ad tech ecosystem, on which publishers and society depend.

Google has a series of conflicting positions being both an ad buyer, a seller and owner of the largest ad exchange. It gives itself an inside track which it misuses for its own benefit, undermining free and fair competition – a position that demands regulation and remedies, as the European Publishers Council has highlighted.

MOW’s James Rosewell said “The CMA’s decision is the start of a journey toward more public oversight of big tech promises. Next steps include the creation of the Digital Markets Unit, putting a public authority in charge of making decisions about how digital gatekeepers operate.”

Tim Cowen, Counsel for MOW and Chair of the antitrust practice at Preiskel &Co LLP, said “ While all eyes are now going to turn to Brussels, we note that the CMA has retained its full range of powers and continue to investigate Google’s behaviour and browser changes in its current Mobile Ecosystems Market Study alongside the new ‘Oversight Role’ created by Google’s ‘Commitments’.”

MOW urges the EU Commission and concerned parties to acknowledge the scale and depth of Google’s strategy of enclosing the Open Web. Far from disconnected issues, the Privacy Sandbox and its recently announced Topics are both subject to the Commitments and such gatekeeper controls affect everything – requiring public interest oversight.

Notes for Editors

The Movement for an Open Web is campaigning for an Open Web, freely accessible to all. We welcome support from all concerned about platform practices and will continue to watch closely and bring to the competition authorities attention further anticompetitive activities.

For more information about becoming a member of the movement, please get in touch at [email protected]

Header image: Guillaume Perigois via Unsplash (licensed for use under the Unsplash License)

[i] As is proposed for the UK with the creation of the Digital Markets Unit and the EU “Digital Markets Act” and the US access and interoperability legislation.  

[ii] Announced in the summer of last year, see: