Materials on Competition and Regulation in Digital Markets
The slides of the conference Competition and Regulation in Digital Markets held at the University of Leeds on 9 September are now available here.
You will see some very interesting materials there (not my slides, which are a slightly modified version of my earlier presentations on the same topic: big data) [yawn intermission]. At least
some of the jokes in my intervention (pictured below) were new…
Actually, if it weren’t for the minor issue that that the jokes aren’t really funny I would consider joining Chicago Antitrust Professor Randy Picker in his stand-up comedy events.
By the way, an interesting development regarding the topic of my presentation took place last Friday, when the European Data Protection Supervisor published a new “Opinion on coherent enforcement of fundamental rights in the age of big data“.
The Opinion interestingly acknowledges that “it would be inappropriate for one area of regulation to look to another area to compensate for its own weaknesses. Authorities in each area have limited tools at their disposal, for example competition enforcement can only address abuse of dominance, cartel behaviour and mergers which are not in the consumer interest; abusive conditions of service are not necessarily an antitrust issue”.
At the same time, however, it holds the (now more nuanced) view that “data protection authorities can help shed light on how and to what extent the control of personal data is so crucial for companies in markets. The synergies between the fields of law, which have been discussed intensively in the recent years, could propel closer cooperation between authorities, especially where there is neither guidance nor case law. It is not a question of ‘instrumentalising’ another area of law but rather of synchronising EU policies and enforcement activities, adding value where a supervisory authority lacks expertise or legal competence in analysing“. The EDPS therefore offers “the expertise of independent data authorities in advising on how to assess the significance for consumer welfare in such proposed acquisitions“.
One may or may not agree with the EDPS’s views on this matter (and you know my take), but it him and his team deserve credit for having made a popular issue out of this, thereby reviving some of the old -and most important- debates in EU competition law.