Google has taken a lot of heat for violating people’s privacy. Now it could get in trouble for trying to protect it.
When Google in January said it planned to follow Apple’s lead in increasing privacy protections by blocking most online advertising trackers, publishers of news and entertainment websites whose business relies on the trackers hit back.
The publishers started telling staff for the Justice Department and state attorneys general that Google’s plan to block the ad trackers through Google Chrome, the world’s top web browser, would hurt their sites while indirectly benefiting Google’s own ad business. In doing so, they gave added ammunition to the government as it prepares an antitrust lawsuit that will likely allege the company has created an unfair playing field in online ads. Government staffers in recent months have made the issue part of their broad antitrust investigation into Google, according to two people who were formally briefed on the investigation.