UK publishers and tech companies call for stop to Google Privacy Sandbox rollout

Anne Freer | November 24, 2020

Mobile Advertising

A group of leading technology and publishing companies has joined forces to urge the UK anti-competition authorities to halt the launch of Google’s Privacy Sandbox which is due to be rolled out in 2021.

The Marketers for an Open Web (MOW) group criticised that the Sandbox addition would get rid of login, advertising and other privacy features on Google Chrome.

“The world’s regulators have realised that Google is attempting to take over the web through its dominance of areas such as search, online advertising and browser technologies,” explained James Rosewell, Director of MOW.

“However, their efforts to mitigate this monopoly power will be in vain if Google manages to consolidate its dominance through the introduction of Privacy Sandbox prior to the regulators’ recommended changes to the law being implemented.  If Google releases this technology, they will effectively own the means by which media companies, advertisers and technology businesses reach their consumers and that change will be irreversible.”

The group warns that the Privacy Sandbox is a way for Google to control digital and mobile advertising and has actually little to do with privacy. News publishers could see their revenues cut by roughly two-thirds as a consequence.

The MOW urged the Competition and Markets Authority to take swift action against the release.

“The concept of the open web is based on a decentralised, standards-based environment that is not under the control of any single commercial organisation.  This model is vital to the health of a free and independent media, to a competitive digital business environment and to the freedom and choice of all web users.  Privacy Sandbox creates new, Google-owned standards and is an irreversible step towards a Google-owned ‘walled garden’ web where they control how businesses and users interact online,” added Rosewell.

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