back to article Privacy Sandbox saga continues: UK watchdog extracts more commitments from Google over ad tech

The torrid tale of Google's Privacy Sandbox took another turn today with the UK's Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) saying it has "secured improved commitments" from the ad giant over the cookie crushing tech. The CMA's claims come in the wake of yesterday's call by the UK's data watchdog, the Information Commissioner's …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is a waste of time

    Google will do just as it wants and the CMA can go pound sand as far as they are concerned.

    Trying to stop BigG is impossible, They are bigger than many countries so... They are answerable only to themselves. go against them and they'll wipe the floor with you.

    I just try to avoid using Googleanything as much as I can. I know that this isn't very much but as the ad slogan says, 'Every little helps'.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: This is a waste of time

      Google hasn't wiped the floor with South Korea yet.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: This is a waste of time

      Nothing ever happens if you don't at least give it a try. If you just roll over and try to ignore it, then Google gets to do as it wants forever.

      Even Al Capone was caught -- by the IRS.

  2. Rich 2

    Looking down the list….

    Looking down the list of commitments G is apparently prepared to make, I notice that most of them don’t come close to “we promise not to be complete and utter bastards and continue to abuse everyone’s data” and the couple that sort-of touch on such an idea are vague and weasely enough for G to ignore them anyway.

    Why don’t the gov just pass a bloody law on the lines of “don’t use anyone’s personal data for shit like advertising” and “don’t track anyone” and lock the bloody company directors up when (not if) they fail to comply? If the directors were made personally responsible then they might finally start to behave a bit. Same goes for the bloody water companies, by the way. It’s not f***ing rocket science

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Looking down the list….

      Some really great suggestions. Sadly trying to lock up the Google BOD is a lost cause.

      The US-UK extradition act is so one sided that IMHO, if a US citizen killed the Queen, it still would be impossible to get the culprit extradited to the UK. Whereas... going the other way is very easy as we can see from the Autonomy case.

    2. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Looking down the list….

      'Why don’t the gov just pass a bloody law on the lines of “don’t use anyone’s personal data for shit like advertising” and “don’t track anyone”'

      Because that's contrary to HM Gov's policy of Driving growth and unlocking innovation.

      Part of the same picture is the proposal to remove the right "not to be subject to a decision based solely on automated processing, including profiling, which produces legal effects concerning him or her or similarly significantly affects him or her" [GDPR Article 22 and equivalent UK legislation].

      See DCMS consultation Data: A New Direction. Paragraph 101 of the consultation document states The Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform has recommended that Article 22 of UK GDPR should be removed. [...] [consultation document sadly no longer downloadable].

  3. devin3782

    Ah yes the "Being seen to be doing..." hypocrisy.

    Cookies aren't the problem it's the tracking of unique codes in cookies, urls, and those bits of screen scraping pervert ware by the likes of Adobe and Hotjar and the tying of this data together. Just outright ban selling of data unless the original user officially sanctioned it and if the user does sanction it then the company must give 90% of the profit they make on that data to the user their harvested it from. Make having the data useless and its handling egregious would go a long way to stopping this, hit them where it hurts (their shareholders wallets).

    This is why I always prefer not to keep any data the user isn't in direct control of on any of my products. One must always practice what they preach.

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Departmental lack of realism

      "Cookies aren't the problem it's the tracking of unique codes in cookies, urls, and those bits of screen scraping pervert ware"

      Exactly correct, but DCMS seems to have missed this point entirely. I drew attention to it in my submission to Data: a New Direction but I doubt they'll pay attention, any more than they do to the "cookie pop-up problem". They think that the problem is the seeking of consent, whereas in reality it's the intrusiveness of the pop-ups, that block access until you've been coerced into responding.

      The two main barriers to getting the reality across to the Govt. are its lack of technical expertise and the multiple conflicts of interest it's subject to. However these conflicts of interest are not even apparent to those who suffer from them. For example, one of the proposals in the Data: a New Direction consultation was to widen the responsibilities of the ICO to include consideration of 'competition', economic growth and innovation alongside the protection of data subjects. How blinkered can you get?

  4. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
    Flame

    UnBoxed Chrome possible?

    I wonder if fairly soon it won't be possible to take the Chromium source, and modify the Privacy sandbox code to look like it works, but actually keeps nothing.

    Or, the corresponding Google JS in the page will test that the sandbox is functioning, and deny access to the page if it detects anomalous behaviour,

    Or something else equally evil.

  5. Ashto5

    Opportunity Knocks

    If ABC are being outright fits

    Then I believe that there will be space for other offerings

    Basically you need a random page selector routine that when you’re asleep or not using your machine just jumps around clicks links then closes the tab opens another and does the Same again

    It will make their data pretty worthless

    But idiot sellars will still pay to advertise

    I have yet to click any advert link

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Opportunity Knocks

      "Basically you need a random page selector routine that when you’re asleep or not using your machine just jumps around clicks links then closes the tab opens another and does the Same again"

      You mean something a bit like this?

      "TrackMeNot is a lightweight browser extension that helps protect web searchers from surveillance and data-profiling by search engines. It does so not by means of concealment or encryption (i.e. covering one's tracks), but instead, paradoxically, by the opposite strategy: noise and obfuscation. With TrackMeNot, actual web searches, lost in a cloud of false leads, are essentially hidden in plain view. User-installed TrackMeNot works with the Chrome Browser and popular search engines (AOL, Yahoo!, Google, and Bing) and requires no 3rd-party servers or services."

      https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/trackmenot/cgllkjmdafllcidaehjejjhpfkmanmka?hl=en

      Also worked with Firefox:

      https://trackmenot.io/

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