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Concern Trolls and Power Grabs: Inside Big Tech’s Angry, Geeky, Often Petty War for your Privacy


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The ties that bind.

The World Wide Web Consortium is a mostly-online community where the people who operate the Internet Website publishers, browser companies, ad tech firms, privacy advocates, academics and others come together to hash out how the plumbing of the Web works.

Credit: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

James Rosewell could see his company's future was in jeopardy.

It was January 2020, and Google had just announced key details of its plan to increase privacy in its Chrome browser by getting rid of third-party cookies and essentially breaking the tools that businesses use to track people across the web. That includes businesses like 51Degrees, the U.K.-based data analytics company Rosewell has been running for the last 12 years, which uses real-time data to help businesses track their websites' performance.

"We realized at the end of January 2020 what Google was proposing was going to have an enormous impact on our customer base," Rosewell said.

Under the banner of a group called Marketers for an Open Web, Rosewell filed a complaint with the U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority last year, charging Google with trying to shut out its smaller competitors, while Google itself continued to track users.

But appealing to antitrust regulators was only one prong in Rosewell's plan to get Google to delay its so-called Privacy Sandbox initiative. The other prong: becoming a member of the World Wide Web Consortium, or the W3C.

From Protocol
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