Another Look at Privacy
21 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2013
Date Written: August 13, 2013
Antitrust law does not often take privacy issues into account, even when construing “privacy” in its broadest sense to include privacy policies, the collection and subsequent use or sale of personal information, and privacy regulation. Issues involving privacy and its flip side, “big data,” occasionally do surface in antitrust matters, but by and large they remain on the margin. There have been a handful of attempts to move privacy more toward the center of the antitrust universe, but they have not been very successful.
In this Article, I first discuss some of the challenges consumer privacy poses and why antitrust has had a difficult time with privacy considerations. Next, I discuss several arguments that a few brave souls have made urging that privacy should be more central to antitrust — especially when consumer data is at the center of a merger, as it was in Google/DoubleClick. I then look at some of the ways that, on the periphery, antitrust law does incorporate privacy issues. Finally, I offer what is hopefully a more nuanced and productive way of thinking about the issue based on several characteristics of online markets, and suggest a few interesting implications for the future.
Keywords: antitrust, privacy, online media
JEL Classification: K21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation