Big Data - The State of the Debate

Big Data and Antitrust Enforcement


Abstract


The interaction between information, innovation and market outcomes is shaping the modern digital industries of the 21st century: the business models of search engines, social networks, e-commerce websites and marketplaces are highly reliant on the ability to gather and process large amount of data. At the same time, it is increasingly recognized that the use of Big Data by online platforms and intermediaries has far-reaching consequences not only on economic activity, but also on social and political mechanisms: technological developments affecting information flows affect the organization of markets as well as the nature of individual interactions and the functioning of the political process. A set of complementary policy tools is needed to define a comprehensive governance of online markets that effectively protects competition, consumers as well as individuals’ privacy and media pluralism. Not all sensitive issues raised by Big Data are also competition issues. However, because of the high degree of concentration that characterizes online markets, antitrust policy finds itself at the crossroad between Big Data and the transformative effects that the Internet is having on the economy and on society. Antitrust enforcement is well equipped and sufficiently flexible to adapt its analytical tools to deal effectively with potential data-driven competition problems and thus contribute to the economic governance of digital market. This article focuses on the implications that Big Data have for antitrust enforcement, i.e. on the potential application of competition law to those (pathological) situations in which Big Data might be used by a dominant company to foreclose competitors or to exploit consumers, might be a relevant factor in the assessment of mergers’ anticompetitive effects or might facilitate collusive behavior.

Keywords


Antitrust; Big Data; Mergers; Privacy; Competition policy

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12870/iar-12609

References






Rivista Italiana Antitrust / Italian Antitrust Review
ISSN: 2284-3272

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