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CMA Secures Improved Commitments From Google On Privacy Sandbox

Competition and Markets Authority or CMA announced Friday that it has secured improved commitments from Google (GOOG) on its proposals to remove third party cookies and other functionalities from its Chrome browser.

The agency said it has been investigating Google's proposals since the start of the year. The CMA was concerned that, without its involvement, Google's alternatives could be developed and implemented in ways that impede competition in digital advertising markets.

This may cause advertising spending to become even more concentrated on Google, harming consumers who ultimately pay for the cost of advertising, the CMA noted. It was also concerned that this may undermine the ability of online publishers such as newspapers to generate revenue and continue to produce valuable content in the future, reducing choice for consumers.

The CMA said its intervention, and the improved commitments, would ensure that Google's proposals can improve privacy without adversely affecting competition.

Google has now offered to ensure that the CMA's role and the ongoing CMA process are mentioned in Google's key public announcements, and to instruct its staff not to make claims to customers which contradict the commitments.

The company, among other things, would also report regularly to the CMA on how Google has taken account of third party views.

The CMA's provisional view is that Google's revised offer addresses the CMA's competition concerns, so the CMA is now consulting on these modifications.

CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said, "We have always been clear that Google's efforts to protect user's privacy cannot come at the cost of reduced competition. .. If accepted, the commitments we have obtained from Google become legally binding, promoting competition in digital markets, helping to protect the ability of online publishers to raise money through advertising and safeguarding users' privacy."

The CMA said it will now consult on these new commitments until December 17.

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