May 28, 2024

Google’s New IP Protection Method Under Scrutiny

The Movement for an Open Web (MOW) has filed a complaint with the UK’s CMA (Competition and Markets Authority), stating that Google’s new IP protection methods are anti-competitive.

Google is set to roll out IP Protection, which will make Chrome connections run through two proxies. One will be operated by Google, and the other one by a third-party provider like Cloudflare.

Now, Google’s proxy will have access to the user’s IP address, and the third-party proxy will have access to the list of websites being visited by these IPs.

This is a blatant and egregious breach of the commitments made by Google to the CMA to prevent it acting in an anti-competitive fashion.Tim Cowen, co-founder of MOW

By segregating these two sets of data, Google aims to restrict access to enough information that will allow advertisers to create a marketing profile for that particular user.

However, MOW claims that this entire move is anti-competitive in nature. While the ISPs will not have access to website data, Google will be able to monitor data on a regular basis. MOW has called out Google, which is employing an anti-competitive technology in the veil of user privacy.

Impact of Google’s New IP Protection

This IP segregation will make child protection more difficult. As ISPs will have no access to critical data, they will not be able to employ protection devices to save children from online predators.

As per experts, the IP Protection feature is expected to be rolled out by January 2024, along with the unveiling of Chrome 122.

A marketing professional also pointed out the difficulties that lie ahead in the realm of optimizing Google AdWords campaigns to prevent fraud.

Marketers use IP addresses to filter out users clicking on a particular keyword more than 10 times during a day and exclude these addresses from their campaigns.

This not only enhances the quality of ad campaigns but also saves clients loads of money.

However, if unable to view the IP addresses, the whole modus operandi would become difficult to execute.

Google’s Response

Google has responded to the allegations made by MOW, stating that the latter does not understand its IP Protection in totality. A Google spokesperson highlighted that just like its competitors, Google will also not be able to view the user’s IP address or their activity.

The spokesperson also underlined that the system is currently under test, and any claims of the feature being rolled out are without substance. However, the CMA has not commented on the matter yet.

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