Plan to ban Google 'cookies' should be probed, says Industry group

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Google’s plans to block a web tracking tool called ‘cookies’ should be investigated, an industry group has demanded.

Movement for an Open Web (MOW), which represents advertisers, news groups and tech companies, has asked the EU Commission to rein in how the internet giant will tweak its search engine Google Chrome.

Google, which is owned by Alphabet, intends to phase out cookies on the Chrome browser.

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Cookies are used by third parties to collect information about internet users’ browsing habits. 

They are a crucial tool for advertising groups and for news publishers which offer free content online, because it means they can tailor ads more effectively to individuals.

Google intends to phase them out because they pose major privacy concerns.

But MOW insists that the proposed replacement – called the Privacy Sandbox – will hammer advertising and publishing groups while handing Google even more control over data.

A similar complaint raised in the UK led the Competition and Markets Authority to intervene – and Alphabet has offered concessions that would see the regulator work with the company to design the Privacy Sandbox.

These plans have not yet been finalised, however.

MOW director James Rosewell said: ‘The internet was originally envisaged as an open environment outside the control of any single body. 

Google maintains it is making these changes to protect privacy but if not properly policed, the move threatens digital media, online privacy and innovation.’

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