Britain’s competition watchdog said on Friday that it had launched an investigation into Google’s proposal to remove third-party cookies and other features from its Chrome browser, after the company was concerned about curbing competitors’ digital advertising.

The Competition and Markets Authority said the survey will assess whether these proposals will result in more focused ad spending on Alphabet’s Google ecosystem at the expense of its competitors.

Google said that this technology is called a “privacy sandbox” project, which will enable people to receive relevant advertisements, thereby helping to maintain the current advertising model without the need to track users on a single level.

CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli said: “As CMA found in its latest market research, Google’s Privacy Sandbox recommendations may have a very significant impact on publishers such as newspapers and the digital advertising market.”

Google did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

The CMA stated that it has received a complaint from Marketers regarding Open Web (MOW), a consortium of technology and publishing companies, alleging that Google is “abusing its dominant position” through a proposal.

Regulators say that third-party cookies play a key role in digital advertising by helping advertisers effectively target and fund free online content for consumers such as newspapers.

It said they also addressed privacy issues by allowing many consumers to track consumer behavior online in a way that might feel uncomfortable and difficult to understand.

CMA said it will cooperate with the UK data regulator to investigate.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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