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UK Regulator to Have Oversight Over Google's Removal of Third-Party Cookies -- Update

06/11/2021 | 03:22am EDT

--UK's CMA will have oversight role in Google's plan to remove third-party cookies

--Google offered a set of commitments to address competition concerns

--The company said it will apply its commitments globally if the CMA accepts them

By Adria Calatayud

The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority said Friday that it will have an oversight role in Google's planned removal of third-party cookies, as part of commitments made by the company to overcome competition concerns.

The antitrust watchdog said it secured commitment from Alphabet Inc.'s Google to address competition concerns raised by some third parties about the tech company's plan. The CMA said it will take up a role in the design and development of Google's Privacy Sandbox proposals to ensure they don't distort competition.

Google separately said it has offered a set of commitments about how it will design and implement its Privacy Sandbox proposals and treat user data in its systems in the years ahead. The company said its commitments confirm that, once third-party cookies are phased out, its advertising products will have no data advantage and that Google's own sites won't receive preferential treatment.

If the CMA accepts Google's commitments, the company said it will apply them globally.

The company said its engagement with U.K. regulators recognized the importance of reconciling privacy and competition concerns.

"We understand that our plans will be scrutinized, so we'll also continue to engage with other regulators, industry partners and privacy experts as well," Google Legal Director Oliver Bethell said in a blog post.

The regulator said it will now launch a consultation on whether to accept Google's commitments, which will close on July 8. The CMA said it will then make a final decision and, if accepted, the commitment would be legally binding.

Google's commitments follow an investigation, launched by the CMA in January, into the company's plan to phase out third-party cookies and other functionalities in its Chrome browser. The CMA said it was concerned that Google's plan could be developed in ways that would hurt competition in digital-advertising markets and concentrated more ad spending on Google.

Write to Adria Calatayud at adria.calatayud@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

06-11-21 0522ET

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