The US multi-state antitrust lawsuit is targeting Google’s plan to phase out third-party tracking cookies. The Union of Attorneys General, headed by the State of Texas in the United States, updated its lawsuit against Google on Tuesday, including more specific allegations against the search giant, such as the recent privacy update of Google’s Chrome browser. This may better protect users’ personal data but it also consolidates Google’s dominance.
The Texas-led lawsuit was filed in December last year and is one of three ongoing antitrust cases against Google. In the other two cases, the Colorado Attorney General’s coalition claims that Google stifled competition by manipulating search results. The US Department of Justice’s case focuses on its dominant position in the online search market. This also includes its dominance in its advertising business.
Like the original indictment in Texas, the lawsuit updated on Tuesday focuses on Google’s technology for targeted advertising on the Internet. The Attorney General previously claimed that Google used its influence in search, streaming video, and other markets to stifle independent advertising platforms and force small businesses and the media to use its systems. But in the latest indictment, the states applied this argument to Google’s “Privacy Sandbox,” which uses a more restricted system designed by the company to replace intrusive third-party tracking.
Google is currently under fire for collecting users information
Over the years, Google has been gradually reducing the use of tracking cookies. Earlier this month, it announced that it would not establish an alternative system for tracking Internet users. But critics of the company believe that these efforts are selfish. Now, multi-state regulators appear to have adopted these criticisms. They are putting new legal pressure on Google’s efforts to block Chrome tracking. The lawsuit stated: “Google tried to use privacy as an excuse to conceal its true intentions. In the privacy sandbox, Google did not actually stop user profile analysis or targeted advertising. Rather, it places the Chrome browser at the center of tracking and positioning.”
In response, the company claims that the new allegations are based on a misunderstanding of Chrome’s privacy features. The company representative explained: “The latest allegations have misrepresented many aspects of our business, including the measures we are taking on the privacy sandbox program to protect people’s privacy while browsing the web. These efforts have been influenced by privacy advocates, advertisers, and even competition. The adversary welcomes them as a step forward in protecting user privacy and protecting free content. We will strongly oppose these baseless allegations in court.”