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Google works with UK regulator to stop Chrome tracking

Gabby Fernie

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced it will be working with Google in developing its plans to prevent websites from tracking Chrome users, according to The Guardian.

Google will involve the regulator closely in a project, known as Privacy Sandbox, to develop alternative tracking technologies. It is thought to be the first time a competition regulator has been involved at such an early stage in the creation of a new technology.

In a move following Apple, Google first announced in January that it would ban all advertisers - including itself - from tracking the browsing of web viewers. Instead, it would use artificial intelligence to profile individuals in a way that reserved their privacy.  

Following the announcement, the CMA declared a formal investigation into the proposals. Google responded by offering legally binding commitments to involve the regulator in the plans. 

The commitments include a promise that Chrome browsing histories will not be used to target adverts; that Google's own advertising products will have no advantage over other advertisers in accessing data; and that the CMA will be proactively engaged in Google’s plans for the future, with a guaranteed pause of at least 60 days before the company ultimately bans third-party cookies.

“We welcomed the opportunity to engage with a regulator with the mandate to promote competition for the benefit of consumers” Oliver Bethnell, the head of Google's EMEA competition team, told The Guardian. “We are offering a set of commitments – the result of many hours of discussions with the CMA and more generally with the broader web community – about how we’ll design and implement the Privacy Sandbox proposals and treat user data in Google’s systems in the years ahead.”