Big Data and Privacy in Merger Review - Competition Policy for the 21st Century Digital Economy
Posted: 20 Nov 2017 Last revised: 31 Mar 2018
Date Written: January 13, 2017
Big data is the hot buzzword across industries and data is playing an increasingly important role in how businesses compete on the markets. In the digital economy, big data represents a core economic asset that can create significant competitive advantage for companies. Although the collection and analysis of data by companies is not limited to consumer data, many aspects of big data are targeted specifically at consumers, their preferences and behavior. This collection and use of personal information raises privacy issues. To keep pace with these developments, competition authorities have started to make data and its implications for competition law a key focus. Competition issues associated with big data are an emerging agenda for the regulators around the world. Last year, French and German competition authorities published a joint study examining the interplay between data and competition law. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) issued a paper in November 2016 on big data’s implications for competition enforcement. The European Commission has also confirmed its interest in big data, in particular with regard to privacy issues and data as an asset. Most recently, the Commission’s interest in data is reflected in the authority currently weighing possible changes to merger rules to better capture data-focused mergers.
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