Campaigners Marketers for an Open Web or MOW gave a guarded response to today’s Google news.
James Rosewell, MOW director, said: “Today’s announcement of a postponement to the retirement of third-party cookies until mid-2023 only goes so far. Google’s timing appears to fit with the ending of commitments given to the UK CMA. Other aspects of the Privacy Sandbox could merely by-pass the CMA commitments.”
MOW, a group of online publishers, advertisers, tech and data companies, argues that ending cookies and requiring users to turn to its own Privacy Sandbox replacement will give Google an unfair advantage and strengthen its grip on digital advertising.
Rosewell said: “It is vital that regulators now look at the degree of control Google exercises over the market. The entire Privacy Sandbox technology, which covers 22 other proposed changes, has to be taken apart and properly examined.”
Google are creating a competitive advantage for themselves and reducing and degrading people’s privacy in practice. Said Rosewell: “As long as Google continue to track individuals and monetize that capability whilst preventing choice for others regulators and MOW will not be satisfied. Google are not saying they will stop ‘individual tracking’.”
He said that Google’s claim that by ensuring that the digital ecosystem can support businesses without tracking individuals across the web we can all ensure that free access to content continues was disingenuous. “What they mean to say is that “we can all ensure that free access to content, via Google owned, operated and monetised properties, continues.”
Google maintains that the technologies and their prototypes are discussed in industry-wide forums like W3C. Said Rosewell: “To date there has been no discussion, it has been a lecture. Perhaps this more rational approach will lead to Google following the W3C standards setting process rather than working around it in groups that are not subject to it. This announcement does not clarify this important distinction and therefore continues to mislead the reader.”
Added Rosewell: “We may now have the space to fully address privacy concerns and to find a solution that both protects privacy while creating an open web for all – and not enabling one company to secure a huge commercial gain,” said Rosewell. “It’s critical that all those affected by Google’s changes – publishers, advertisers, tech and data companies – now engage and make their views known to the CMA before 8th July.”