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EU launches antitrust probe into Google banning third-party cookies in Chrome

The European Commission
the 'Privacy Sandbox'
Federated Learning
the European Commission
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the Electronic Frontier Foundation
Browser-maker Brave
the Privacy Sandbox
the Ars Orbital Transmission
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Jon Brodkin
Jun 22
Margrethe Vestager


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The European Commission today said it has begun investigating Google for "possible anticompetitive conduct" in the market for online advertising technology.The EC announcement said the formal antitrust investigation will "assess whether Google has violated EU competition rules by favoring its own online display advertising technology services in the so-called 'ad tech' supply chain, to the detriment of competing providers of advertising technology services, advertisers and online publishers." The EC said it will "examine whether Google is distorting competition by restricting access by third parties to user data for advertising purposes on websites and apps, while reserving such data for its own use."Chrome and Android figure into the investigation. The EC said it will investigate "Google's announced plans to prohibit the placement of third-party 'cookies' on Chrome and replace them with the 'Privacy Sandbox' set of tools, including the effects on online display advertising and online display advertising intermediation markets." Google's Privacy Sandbox includes FLoC, or Federated Learning of Cohorts, a technology that would replace third-party cookies for advertising purposes.Regarding Android, the EC said it will examine "Google's announced plans to stop making the advertising identifier available to third parties on Android smart mobile devices when a user opts out of personalized advertising, and the effects on online display advertising and online display advertising intermediation markets." The EC said it will also probe Google-imposed requirements that force advertisers to use certain Google services in order to purchase ads on YouTube.Noting that "Google is present at almost all levels of the supply chain for online display advertising," EC Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the European government is "concerned that Google has made it harder for rival online advertising services to compete in the so-called ad tech stack." Vestager is the EC's executive vice president in charge of competition policy.Vestager said the investigation will look into "Google's policies on user tracking to make sure they are in line with fair competition." She said that "Google collects data to be used for targeted advertising purposes, it sells advertising space, and also acts as an online advertising intermediary."Google defended its practices in a statement sent to Ars and other news organizations.

As said here by Jon Brodkin