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

Grunes, Allen P., Another Look at Privacy (August 13, 2013). George Mason Law Review, Vol. 20, No. 4, 2013. Available at SSRN:

Allen P. Grunes (Contact Author)

The Konkurrenz Group ( email )

5335 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Suite 440
Washington, DC 20015
United States
202-644-9760 (Phone)

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