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British Regulator is Investigating Google for Modifying Chrome

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UK competition watchdog CMA investigates Google over plans to make tracking users of its Chrome web browser more difficult.


According to the regulator, those plans, announced early last year, would undermine advertisers’ ability to offer targeted advertising. This would make it more difficult for other companies to compete with Google, a major player in web advertising.

Google wants to build a so-called “privacy sandbox” into Chrome, the most used browser worldwide. As a result, cookies from other companies would no longer work properly. Google’s move wouldn’t take full effect until next year.

Publishers and companies that provide online advertising techniques complained to the CMA in November that they would not gather information about web users. They fear that they will lose up to 75 percent of their sales as a result.

Google’s plans follow after Apple had already disabled the use of cookies in its Safari browser. Firefox also focuses explicitly on privacy. Google was criticized for taking two years to implement the plans. Critics pointed out that Google itself also has a lot to gain from working cookies and user tracking.

Internet users are sometimes followed at a detailed level utilizing tracking cookies. This allows advertisers to offer them particular advertisements.

The Google investigation is one of the CMA’s first since Brexit. Previously, investigations into competition cases were conducted through the European Commission. Google has also repeatedly tackled this in recent years because of abuse of its dominant position.

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