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Google’s Recent Privacy Updates: Replacements to 3rd Party Cookies and Enhanced Ads Transparency

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Google’s Recent Privacy Updates: Replacements to 3rd Party Cookies and Enhanced Ads Transparency

5 August 2020

05/08/2020
Technology & Regulation in the Spotlight

Google has recently published several updates in the context of the company’s efforts to enhance privacy in digital advertising. These changes are a part of Google’s initiative to develop a set of open standards to increase privacy on the web, which is referred to as “Privacy Sandbox“. In addition, the company has updated its data processing and protection terms, which will now include the Standard Contractual Clauses (“SCCs“) for personal data transfers.

As part of these recent updates, Google has announced that the new Trust Token API is now available for testing by developers. This API is one of the alternatives for third party-cookies, which as previously reported, Google plans to phase out of Chrome by 2022. The Trust Tokens are meant to be used in order to verify real users and differentiate them from bots, while not revealing identifying information about individual users, and prevent user-tracking across the web.

Google’s actions can be seen within the context of efforts taken by the European privacy regulators to increase enforcement on the use of cookies and other tracking technologies. Apple has also taken steps of a similar nature, namely the company’s recent announcement that pursuant to the release of iOS 14, Identify for Advertisers (“IDFA“) will require users’ consent through an opt-in mechanism rather than the current opt-out one. IDFA is an identifier tied to the device, and provides functionality that is similar to cookies, such as tracking users’ interactions and behavior for personalized ads.

Google has also published a new Chrome extension called Ads Transparency Spotlight. The extension provides detailed information about ads. The information includes, inter alia, how many ads are loaded on a given web page, a list of all companies and services that have a presence on the page, and what user data has been used. Currently the extension only shows information about ads that were purchased through Google Ads and implemented the Ad Disclosure Schema.

In addition, Google plans to improve the current “Why this Ad” feature, that enables users to better understand some of the factors that the selection of the ad is based upon, or to choose to stop seeing that ad. Over the next few months, a new and improved feature called “About this Ad” will be implemented instead. The new feature provide users with more information, including the verified name of the advertiser. Initially this new functionality will be available for display ads purchased through Google Ads and Display & Video 360, and will expand to other ad surfaces throughout 2021.

All of the abovementioned actions are part of the same emerging trend of enhanced users’ privacy through changes to tracking technologies. Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions regarding these developments.

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Please feel free to approach us with any further questions regarding the legal considerations and practical implications of the new regulatory frameworks that apply to using AI technologies.

Kind regards,

Ariel Yosefi, Partner

Co-Head | Technology & Regulation Department

Herzog Fox & Neeman

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