Home / News / Google highlights privacy changes, choice screens, and data API in preparation for DMA compliance day

Google highlights privacy changes, choice screens, and data API in preparation for DMA compliance day

Google has introduced a new set of product adjustments in preparation for the upcoming deadline to comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA).

The DMA applies to Alphabet, the parent company of Google, as one of the six designated “gatekeepers” under the ex ante competition reform. The pan-European Union regulation aims to enhance digital market competition through specific operational guidelines for “core platform services.” Violating the regime can result in penalties of up to 10% of global annual turnover (or 20% for repeat offenders).

Google will implement new browser and search choice screens for Android phone users during device setup and soon for Chrome users on desktop and iOS devices. The updated selection screens are expected to be visible by March 6, according to Google.

The design of the choice screens is based on user research, testing, and industry feedback. You can find Google’s eligibility criteria for browsers on their website. Here are the eligibility criteria for search engines:.

Google has announced that it has discontinued linking personal data across user accounts for certain products to personalize content and ads. This privacy change is occurring due to the DMA prohibiting the utilization of individuals’ data for advertising without their explicit permission. Google is not yielding easily in the face of this data challenge.

We currently exchange data between various Google products and services for specific purposes, such as customizing your content and advertisements based on your preferences. Users in the EEA can now access settings in their Google Account to decide whether to continue sharing data across Google services by linking them. This change reflects Google’s decision to cease tracking and profiling users without their consent.

According to Google’s blog post, users might encounter new consent banners prompting them to decide whether they want to connect their Google services. The company seems to be attempting to encourage users to re-enable its tracking, despite the DMA’s prohibition of dark pattern designs meant to manipulate users into giving consent.

The adtech company serves as the DMA gatekeeper, overseeing the largest number of regulated platforms, totaling eight: Google Maps, Google Play, Google Shopping, Google Ads, Chrome, Android, Google Search, and YouTube. This is the reason for the wide array of changes being implemented across various products.

Google seems to depend on its advertisers to maintain a continuous flow of user data for targeted ads. The blog post emphasizes the company’s commitment to enhancing advertising products and tools to facilitate advertisers’ consent for collected data, aligning with its established EU end-user consent policy.

Google does not provide an explanation of the changes made. Regulators will need to examine the company’s practice of outsourcing consent for tracking to third parties. It is important to highlight that DMA gatekeepers must comply with the EU’s data protection framework, specifically the GDPR. Notably, there is an ongoing GDPR complaint against Google’s adtech lodged with the Irish Data Protection Commission.

Google must also furnish advertiser customers with additional details regarding their ads as per the DMA. Google mentions that advertisers and publishers in the EEA will have access to extra data, although the blog post does not specify the details of this information. The data will be shared in a manner that safeguards user privacy and sensitive customer information.

Google will implement a new program on March 6, enabling Android developers to guide users in the EEA to external offers from within their Play-distributed apps. Google may now permit developers to include links in their software to redirect users to more affordable options, a practice previously restricted by anti-steering rules unless they opt out of distributing through its app store.

The modification aims to facilitate Android developers in redirecting users to their websites for subscription payments, thereby circumventing Google’s app store commission fee and potentially enhancing their profitability.

Google announced the upcoming release of a Data Portability API for developers in the EEA to comply with new requirements in the DMA.

Yesterday, TikTok announced its API for data portability, which falls under the scope of the DMA. All gatekeepers must complete this task.

EU legislators anticipate that the data portability requirements in the regulation will enhance competition by simplifying service switching and multi-homing. This will enable users to transfer their data to another app or service and allow businesses to utilize data to better serve their customers.

Google faces a significant DMA risk due to the number of its services falling under the regulation. However, its blog posts sometimes imply that it is already moving towards compliance by highlighting existing features like allowing Android users to install alternative app stores and sideload apps.

Google’s latest blog post seems to be reiterating changes that were previously announced or launched in recent weeks. Changes were made to regional search results, including the removal of the flight aggregator unit and the addition of new box-outs and buttons. The modifications prompted a strong response from comparison sites, alleging that Google introduced a new service (rich content features) that violates the regulation’s prohibition on self-preferencing.

Starting on March 7, the implementation of the DMA will begin. Compliance reports from gatekeepers will be disclosed, and the European Commission will host workshops for stakeholders to provide feedback.

The Commission is responsible for enforcing the DMA. The group has the authority to initiate investigations in cases of suspected non-compliance by gatekeepers. It possesses the authority to implement temporary actions, enabling swift responses to urgent matters. The EU is facing significant pressure, particularly in terms of reputation, to effectively enforce this key digital reform. Therefore, the Commission must act swiftly.

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